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Leo Frank
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Murderer (Alleged)
    (April 17, 1884-August 17, 1915)
    Born in Cuero, Texas
    Raised in Brooklyn
    Jewish manager of the National Pencil Factory in Atlanta
    Accused of raping and murdering 13-year-old employee Mary Phagan on April 26, 1913
    Despite no hard evidence against him convicted of murder and sentenced to death (August 26, 1913)
    Sentenced commuted to life in prison by Georgia Governor John M. Slaton (June 20, 1915)
    Forcibly taken by an angry mob from the Georgia State Prison in Milledgeville, driven to Marietta (near Phagan's childhood home) and lynched at age 31
    Case made into the 1988 TV movie 'The Murder of Mary Phagan' starring Peter Gallagher as Frank
    1997 novel of the case, 'The Old Religion,' written by David Mamet
    Broadway musical of the case, 'Parade,' won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Score and Best Book of a Musical
    Rival newspapers engaging in yellow journalism took sides, one proclaiming the guilt of Frank and the other of the factory's black janitor Jim Conley.
    Conley was a drunk and ex-con who was placed at the murder scene and admitted lying to the cops but was never indicted.
    The deep south wanted vengeance for the murder of a white girl and opted to convict the rich Jewish guy over the poor black guy.
    After the lynching, roughly half of the 3,000 Jews living in Georgia left the state.
    The perpetrators of the lynching, calling themselves the Knights of Mary Phagan, helped to rekindle interest and reform the Ku Klux Klan.
    He claimed his innocence from the start until his lifeless body swung from a tree.
    Gov. Slaton made the unpopular decision (at a cost of his career) to commute the sentence because he believed Frank was innocent.
    His trial and conviction sparked the birth of the Anti-Defamation League.
    His last request was that his wedding ring be returned to his wife, and the request was honored.
    Nobody ever went to trial for his murder.
    In 1982, Alonzo Mann, a 13-year-old office boy at the pencil factory back in 1913, swore in an affidavit he saw Conley dragging Phagan's body and was threatened with death by Conley to keep silent.
    Due to Mann's affidavit, and with the urging of the Anti-Defamation League, he was posthumous pardoned by the State of Georgia (March 11, 1986).

Credit: Scar Tactics


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