Contributed by klstacy_home
Description: Frank Receives Death Sentence - His StatementDate: December 17 1914
Newspaper published in: Headland, AL
Source: Madison Co. Library, Huntsville, AL
Page/Column: Page 1, Column 3
Frank Receives Death Sentence
[Transcription Note: First paragraph partially obscured by a label.] __ek was … __nty Su-__ … __nged on … murder … __-year-old Atlanta factory girl.
In reply to the usual query by the court if he had any reason to give why sentence should not be passed upon him Frank made the following statement:
“May it please your honor, this is a momentus day—a day of far greater importance to the State of Georgia and the majesty of the law even to myself, for under the guise of law your honor is about to pronounce words that will condemn to death an innocent man. Transcending in importance the loss of my own life is the indelible strain and dishonor resting upon the name of this State by reason of its judicially murdering an innocent man. The jury’s verdict of august 25, 1913, finding me guilty of the death of Mary Phagan, did not then and does not now speak the truth. I declare to your honor and to the world that that verdict was made in an atmosphere seething with mob violence and clamor for my life—a verdict based on evidence absolutely false, which under other circumstances would not have been a moment’s credence.
“I deeply sympathize with the parents of Mary Phagan. The brute that brought so much grief upon them has plunged me into sorrow and misery unspeakable, and is about to accomplish my undoing.
“But this I know, my execution will make the advent of a new era in Georgia, where a good name and stainless honor count for naught against the word of a vile criminal; where the testimony of Southern white women of unimpeachable character is branded as false by the prosecution, disregarded by the jury and the perjured vaporings of a black brute alone accepted as the whole truth; where a mob crying for blood invaded the court room and became the dominant factor in what should have been a solemn judicial trial. O shame—that these things be true.
“Life is very sweet to me. It is not an easy thing to give up the love of our dear ones, of wife and parents, of ever loyal friends. Though this be true—death has no terrors for me. I go to my end in the full consciousness of innocence and in the firm conviction that, as there is a God in Heaven, my full vindication must come someday. With the dawn of that day, there will come to the people of Georgia a full realization of the horrible mistake, a mistake irretrievable—the execution of an innocent man, a victim of perjury, prejudice and passion.”