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Hanging the Peachtree Bandit, An Interview with Author Tom Hughes Part 2
On December 15, 1921, gunshots echoed across Atlanta's famous Peachtree Street moments before a handsome young man darted away from Kaiser's Jewelers. Frank DuPre left in his wake a dead Pinkerton guard and a missing ring. As Christmas shoppers looked on in panic, he raced through the Kimball House Hotel and shot another victim. The brazen events terrified a crime-filled city already on edge. A manhunt captured the nineteen-year-old, unemployed DuPre, who faced a quick conviction and a hanging sentence. Months of appeals pitted a prosecutor demanding some "good old-fashioned rope" against "maudlin sentimentalists" and "sob sisters." Author Tom Hughes recounts the true harrowing story behind the legend of one of the last men hanged in Atlanta.
Tom Hughes was a radio journalist and morning host in Atlanta for over thirty years and is a member of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. He has resided in in-town Atlanta since 1977. This is his second book exploring a true crime from Atlanta's past. The first was "Rich Georgian Strangely Shot: Eugene Grace, Daisy of the Leopard Spots, and the Great Atlanta Shooting of 1912" (McFarland 2012).
Tom, thank you so much for joining us again. We're so glad to have you back.
[01:05:04.190] - Tom Hughes
It's my pleasure. Thank you for the opportunity.
[01:05:08.510] - Benjamin
So where we last left off, Frank was in custody. He had been apprehended in Detroit. He had been extradited back to Atlanta. A massive crowd had received him at the station, the train station in Atlanta. He is taken to Fulton County Jail, the old Fulton County jail, the tower and his family. His father is there. Betty is there. You said she is wailing at the side of him. What is Frank's reaction? What is his demeanor during this time?
[01:05:49.610] - Tom Hughes
Frank is talking altogether too much. He talked to the detectives in Detroit. When the Atlanta police got up there, he talked to them. When he got back to Atlanta, he talked to the reporters. There was a very casual relationship with the press. They would come in and sit by Frank's jail cell and give him cigarettes. He was a chain smoker of cigarettes and they would give him packs and packs of cigarettes. And he would keep talking. He talked frequently about what drove him to do the crime.
He said Betty had nothing to do with it. But she was a glamorous show girl. And he sort of built up this legend of Betty Andrews. Now that he's in jail, Betty Andrews has become a celebrity in Atlanta. Betty mania was underway. There's a wonderful photograph of Betty Andrews. If any of your listeners remember Betty Boop from the cartoons of the 50s, she had a very Betty boobish air about her. And she is in the public eye, this wicked temptress who had diluted this poor young boy into buying a ring.
And then she's basically selling them down the river now.But at the time, the Reverend Ham was one of the leading preachers of Atlanta. And he gave a sermon. I have to go and say that he was arrested, brought back to Atlanta, like on a Thursday. And his trial began on a Tuesday. That was how quickly the solicitor general, the district attorney, as they would be called in most places, the gentleman by the name of John Boykin, a very formidable individual and boycott said, it's the death penalty.
We're going for the death penalty and we're going to try them. On Tuesday, a Sunday intervened. And the Reverend Ham gives a sermon saying this country is going to destruction morally and socially unless something is done to produce a rebirth of conscience in the matter of punishment of the law, defying murderous Desperados who have no regard for the sacredness of human life. He talks about how no one is. Betty Andrews is a celebrity. What about Mrs. Walker, the widow of the murdered police fingerton agent? And then he says that Betty Andrews, his Lakeside paramour and a flapper.
And it goes on and goes because a criminal and a flapper determined upon a plan of robbery at any cost. And they need to find people on that jury who will put Frank at the end of a noose. So there is this build up of frenzy for the trial.
[01:09:32.330] - Benjamin
Explain to us the strategy for the defense.
[01:09:37.070] - Tom Hughes
Well, to this day, I don't know why they did not ask for a change in venue because obviously the city of Atlanta was up in outrage over this crime. Move it somewhere they could move to Macon or Savannah or something like that. But they didn't. They thought of an insanity plea. They had certain concerns about his mental understandable, because he just didn't seem to be at all concerned about the situation he was in. But they didn't go for insanity. They relied on a rather peculiar argument, primarily in that Frank did not know that the man with whom he was grappling was a police officer.
He wasn't a police officer, he was a private security guard. And Frank didn't know who this guy was, who jumped him. And so he had just as much right to defend himself as anyone else. And so they wanted the crime treated as voluntary manslaughter and not murder, which was the state's contention county's contention.
[01:10:56.670] - Benjamin
Which would have resulted in even if he was still convicted of voluntary manslaughter, it would have not been the death penalty.
[01:11:03.370] - Tom Hughes
It would not have been the death. Yes, right. Or maybe even a lesser sentence than life.
[01:11:11.190] - Benjamin
So you have this amazing quote by Boycott's assistant, his deputy guy named Ed Stevens. And it's on page 66 of your book. You say that Stevens argued that Dupree had taken, quote, the Crimson life blood from another man to buy silken bobbles for a woman who herself is Crimson with crime.
[01:11:41.650] - Tom Hughes
[01:11:43.330] - Benjamin
That's pretty good. I mean, that's pretty darn good.
[01:11:47.500] - Tom Hughes
I wish I'd come up with Ed Stevens was Ed Stevens was the order. Boykin was the organizer. He was the man who ran the Department, and he could give a good speech as well. But Stevens was the real auditor in the office, and he handled a lot of these closing arguments.
[01:12:12.970] - Benjamin
So what is their strategy? What is the prosecution's strategy here?
[01:12:16.800] - Tom Hughes
Basically, it's murder. It's plain and simple murder. The motive was to get this ring for Betty Andrews, and he was willing to kill a man for that purpose. And then he ran and killed other people. Now the defense said whatever he did once he left, Kaiser's was not the subject for this trial. The only thing Frank should be tried for was the shooting of Irby Walker at Kaiser's. The other events were unrelated and shouldn't be put before. Obviously, the jury knew about them, but they shouldn't be raised in this particular trial.
And it was a simple cotton dry case of murder worthy of what Boycott said, some good old fashioned rope.
[01:13:08.930] - Benjamin
It's often said that the courtroom is no less theatrical than the stage itself. And it sounds like you had quite the cast assembled there as well. It really struck me as I was reading, Tom, that your witnesses, your list of witnesses that you record for this particular trial. I mean, the prosecution draws them in from across Atlanta, as public as this crime was, you have witnesses with firsthand involvement. You've got the store employee at Kaisers who handed him the ring. You've got the pawn brokers, you've got Abelson, you've got the driver, Cliff Buckley.
You've basically got every single human who was involved in this event present in this courtroom.
[01:13:56.270] - Tom Hughes
And they told the story as they witnessed it. Silverman was probably the most uncomfortable on the stand. His English was not very good, and the defense attorneys badgered him about. You had to know that some kid coming in here, John Doe with a 2500 diamond. But as the judge said, Look, Mr. Silverman is not on trial here, and he was cooperating with the police and was giving evidence. He obviously had a dubious role in the whole situation. But he wasn't the man on trial. Sure, they called of one of the strategies of the defense, and they did the best they could.
I think I talked with the granddaughter of Henry Allen, who was Frank's defense attorney, and he was good at his craft. He was not his first rodeo by any means. And they made the decision not to call any witnesses for Frank, because if you call witnesses, then they wouldn't be able to call any character witnesses for Frank. Because if they made character an issue, then the state could have brought up other discharacter witnesses, disputing it. And also by not calling witnesses, they got to have the last word before the jury.
The only thing Frank could do was this unsworn statement. Georgia was one of the few remaining States that allowed an accused person to make an unsworn statement. The attorney could not question him, could not assist him in any way. Say something like, well, Frank, make sure you point out this that all had to be done beforehand. The accused was allowed to make a statement, and Frank was given his opportunity and just bungled it atrociously again.
[01:16:17.270] - Benjamin
It's such an unusual genre of legal proceeding or sort of form of testimony. If you want to call that, it's like King Lear's last monologue before he goes off stage in Act Five. But you write that he basically bungled it just absolutely botched. There was one thing that he needed to say, and he never said it. And if he had said it, he might have lived another 50 years.
[01:16:53.350] - Tom Hughes
He might have. He basically just described his childhood. He talked about how his first act of crime was robbing his uncle. He talked about the previous ring theft. And then he described the whole events of the day of December 15 and how he went to Chattanooga and railed a little bit about the pawn broker wouldn't give him a lot of money. And he also made a special point of mentioning how Jack Worth told him it really took guts what he did at Kaisers. But he never once said he was sorry.
And he spoke for 15 minutes. He could have spoken for 2 hours. There was no time limit with reasonable time limit. And he spoke for just 15 minutes. And then he basically closed where we closed, where he was arrested in Detroit. And that was like the end of it. Then he stood there and Mr. Allen eventually said, Is there any more Frank? And Frank said, no, I'm done. And he sat down. But if he had said simply at some point, I really am sorry for what I did to Mr.
Walker. People might have given him what might have been some reason for the jury to consider mercy. Also the newspapers. He had a squint, a bad squint, and it made him appear like he was smiling. He'd be sort of crickling his eyes. And many times during the courtroom scenes, they would say that he was smiling. One person described him as having an indefinable air of smug self satisfaction during the trial. And so here you have this guy who appears to be smiling while Mrs. Irby Walker is on the stand talking about and holding the bloody jacket he had been wearing on the day of his death.
And then he gets his opportunity to talk to the jury and basically just tells them what they already knew, how we got to this point. And his arrest never once expressing any regret. And during his jailhouse interviews he was telling reporters that I learned my lesson. No whiskey, no pool halls. I can talk to other young men. I would be a role model. That was probably a term not used in 1922. But if he had said something like that in his statement, and I'm sure I'm not positive, but I hope that Henry Allen and his assistant counsel told him that you needed to say something, Frank, to appeal for some mercy, throw yourself on the mercy of the court.
But he didn't do it. And that opportunity was available to him that day. And that day alone, he squandered him.
[01:20:10.310] - Benjamin
Closing arguments take place in February 1922. But the deliberations among the jury did not take very long, did they?
[01:20:44.690] - Tom Hughes
Yeah. And they came out and the Foreman was asked, how do you find and they said we find Frank Dupree guilty. Now, the jury had the power in the state of Georgia to say we find the defendant guilty, but we recommend mercy. And they just said we find the defendant guilty, no recommendation for mercy. The judge therefore sentenced Frank to death, hang by the neck until dead on the 10 March, which was roughly a month and a half away.
[01:21:23.690] - Benjamin
Now it's funny because the chapter of the trial is over. His execution date is set for the next month in March. But that doesn't happen because there's actually kind of a new chapter in the saga that gets started. Here what you have is this citywide campaign in which we'd already discussed how people are taking sides in this case. And, oh, he's just a kid. And how could you kill this kid? Right. The city gets involved, the preachers start to weigh in again. And even though legally the story is supposed to be ending it's anything but ending in the springtime of 1922, isn't it?
[01:22:16.530] - Tom Hughes
It has to be said that the reason why there became a statewide and certainly in the greater Atlanta area. A debate about the fate of Frank Dupree was that he was a white youth. There was no opposition to any African Americans being executed for crimes. There were a few, but basically one of the leading preachers of this movement to spare Frank from the gallows was a Reverend Mr. Ridley, who was the club, which is the term for the chaplain of the Ku Klux Klan, statewide organization of the clan.
And he went to the governor, wrote to the governor urging that we don't hang white boys in Georgia. And so there was that Colonel, which really drove the whole idea. We were hanging a white boy. And there were others who were more generally concerned with Frank being not only a white youth, but being a guy who had been just totally uncapable of defending himself against people like Jack Worth and Betty Andrews, who were older and more mature and led him to commit this crime, that he hadn't done this on his own.
It had been some horrible mistake on his part that he should not hang for he was not solely responsible. And then the issue that he was not mentally competent and he was tested. And as I said last week, he was graded a high grade moron. And they said, we don't execute mentally ill people either.
[01:24:21.930] - Benjamin
There's this fascinating subthread that runs through this whole sequence in your book, which is we forget nowadays this was the height of Jim Crow, right? And the post Confederate monuments are going up all over the Southern landscape. Sort of the 1910s and 20s are when white folks are really reestablishing their position as dominant in society. They control the legislatures and so forth. And as you write, there had been numerous African American men who had already hung from the gallows in the years prior to Frank's murder for far lesser crimes.
[01:25:02.220] - Tom Hughes
For far lesser crimes at the time of the very same time as Frank's murder of the Pinkerton man in December of the previous year, 1921, a young man, an Augusta black man teenager, I believe, insulted a white girl, and he was arrested, tried and hung in like a matter of a week. And the story hardly made the papers. So there wasn't a giant concern with capital punishment in Georgia until the issue arose of we're going to hang this 19 year old white youth, Frank Dupree. But it did nonetheless start what is sort of the beginnings of the review of the capital punishment system in Georgia?
[01:25:58.590] - Benjamin
It's interesting because and yet despite that racial wrinkle, that sort of element in which his privilege in society as a white man of the day, the legal defense fails time and time again to get him off the hook. He has a stay of execution hearing in March. That doesn't go well for him. And things continue on towards the gallows. The appeal goes all the way to the Georgia state Supreme Court, and they are deadlocked, which means that no change, no reversal, no clemency there in the summertime.
There is yet another hearing before the governor of Georgia saying, clemency clemency. And still his sentence is upheld time and time again. And so it appears as though over that kind of long spring and summer that really nothing is going to save him from his fate.
[01:27:04.450] - Tom Hughes
Now, every step along the way, the Bonehead letter reappears when it was before the state Supreme Court. The argument was made that the judge, when he instructed the jury at the original trial that he reminded them that they have the untramled right to offer mercy, recommend mercy. But he sort of discussed other matters, and it seemed to imply to the jury that you really ought to consider the serious of the crime, the want and murder. But that's not that the jury doesn't have to consider anything they could say.
We recommend mercy because we like his tie. That was the argument. But when it went to the state Supreme Court, the justice who wrote the deciding opinion said he never saw a case less deserving of mercy. And he cited specifically the insolent bravado of Frank's Bonehead letter to the police as indicative that this was a merciless killer. And therefore Frank was resentanced to hang as a result of the state Supreme Court ruling. And then his only appeals then were left to the prison board and eventually to Governor Tom Hardwick.
[01:28:26.770] - Benjamin
Yeah. And that scene is so compelling, because when you actually have the attorneys and Frank and the whole circus get back together again in front of the governor, it's like another trial taking place all over, and they call witnesses. And there are these lengthy statements and so forth. Now, Tom Hardwick is an interesting case because he's having to make his own political calculations in this matter. He's running for re election. Things aren't going well for him. He is a no stranger to clan politics, and he knows that he is going to be alienating different sets of voters, depending on which way he rules in this.
But his argument in the end, is that Frank only showed remorse after he got caught and someone needs to be made an example. That's some Hardball politics right there.
[01:29:25.620] - Tom Hughes
Well, Hardwick is not a very admirable figure. He got his start in the Legislature. He was a prosecuting attorney at a very young age and then got in the legislature where he was known for what was called the Negro Disenfranchisement Bill, which he got passed and it sharply reduced the number of black Georgians who could vote. And then he got into the United States Senate and then was governor of Georgia. And at the time, Georgia was under a lot of national pressure because of the number of lynchings that were going on in the state.
And there were some in Washington who wanted to send troops into Georgia to stop it. And Hardwick was trying to appeal to the national media to show that Georgia, look, we can handle things. We have justice in Georgia. We hang white people. We hang black people if they're found guilty. And therefore he was tilting towards showing the nation that justice in Georgia is Swift but fair to both races.
[01:30:47.150] - Benjamin
He's saying we'll hang them if they're polka dotted. He doesn't care.
[01:30:49.640] - Tom Hughes
Yeah. Right. And he was also he had run a follow of the clan because he did not have any quarrel with the clan's principles of white supremacy. That was all fine. But he wanted them to stop going around in hoods and sheets after dark. He wanted it to become a political movement and not one of intimidation and violence, which cost him at the polls, dearly. And he lost his bid for reelection, in part because of the Dupre decision. This was the first gubernatorial election where women could vote in Georgia.
And they suggested that women who were very active in the say, Frank deprived effort held it against Tom Hardwick at the polls later that year.
[01:31:51.890] - Benjamin
Yeah. I want to ask you about that, because we have been keeping our gaze on sort of the city of Atlanta as much as we have on Frank and his exploits in this case and over and over again, you describe this kind of massive municipal response to the Frank decree murder, and the women come up in this sort of very forceful way over the summertime of that year, where they organized a petition. They organized a petition that garners thousands of signatures. And you have a photograph of this in your book.
It's extraordinary just to see page after page after page of people saying, Let this poor boy go, that sort of thing.
[01:32:43.030] - Tom Hughes
Poor Motherless boy, poor Motherless child.
[01:32:46.610] - Benjamin
Absolutely. The city is turning out in droves to visit Frank to pray for him in prison, to send him gifts, to try to intervene for him right up until the date of his execution on September 1. The people are lining the streets in support of this young man.
[01:33:07.370] - Tom Hughes
How do you explain that the Episcopal Bishop of Atlanta came to the Tower to induct Frank into the Episcopalian Church? He was getting religious instruction. It was a pretty ecumenical effort on the part of the Church community. No Jews, no Catholics seem to be actively involved. But the Jewish Catholic communities were still not quite the thing in the south at that time than the Tom Watson era in Georgia and across the region. But the Protestant denominations had many. But then there was also the Reverend Ham of the Baptist faith, who was, as Frank said, Well, one of those preachers wants to break my neck.
So it was a divided religious community. But certainly they were the most active and most prominent in the effort to save Frank from the news.
[01:34:15.370] - Benjamin
Frank is not the first inmate to find religion as he is staring at the Reaper. And yet what is interesting is that his demeanor, his personality in those long months of incarceration as the door is slowly and shutting firmly on his hopes. His demeanor actually does change. He kind of drops the I'm better than you guys at all. This act, doesn't he?
[01:34:48.330] - Tom Hughes
Yes. He becomes very calm. It was remarked on many occasions that when they would visit Frank, the ladies would be sobbing, but Frank was very calm and he hadn't given up hope. He's taken religious instructions. He's going to go to heaven. And he seems to be more resigned to his fate than the many people who are making their best effort to save him. He tried to stop smoking as heavily as he had been. He smoked like incredible amounts of cigarettes, according to all the accounts, but he sort of backed off on that in his final days.
[01:35:38.830] - Benjamin
Probably a little less moonshine, too.
[01:35:40.910] - Tom Hughes
Yes. But one of the things I noted was his fascination for pie. He loved pie. On the day he was convicted and sentenced to hang, he was returning to the tower, and it said he asked for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie. And on many occasions, on the day he hanged or was hung, he had his morning breakfast, but he didn't want his lunch. And he said, I'll just have a piece of pie. That was his last meal.
[01:36:20.990] - Benjamin
The Romans had a saying, de gustibus known stisputantum, which, of course translates to there's no arguing overtaste. And I mean, what Southern boy does not love a piece of cobbler or pie? It's kind of hard to imagine. Find me one, right? Find me one. So he's approaching the day. And on the day itself, we've talked about these sort of cinematic moments that punctuate his relationship with Betty Andrews, and she's had her own kind of legal troubles in the background while he's been in jail and so forth.
But she does end up in the tower herself on some kind of other as a result of some other incidents. But they have this moment. I mean, they have this incredible moment as Frank is going up the elevator on the way up to the gallows.
[01:37:20.810] - Tom Hughes
It's a remarkable scene. And Frank is on the first floor. His cell is on the first floor. He wants to get a message to Betty Andrews. They won't let him. Betty wants to send Franco letter. They won't let her. But they tell her that if she stands by the elevator on the third floor as he goes up to the gallows on the 6th, it's an open cage elevator. He will see her as he passes by. And so there is that scene that you describe where the elevator is going up, and it goes very slowly creaking.
And Frank is in there, and he passes the third floor. And there's Betty wailing, and he waves to her. He's shackled. But he manages to get a little wave off and says, I'll see you in heaven, Betty. I'll see you in heaven. And she's crying out, I'll be good, Frank. I'll be good. Then he passes up to the fourth floor. And that's the last time Frank and Betty saw one another on this Earth. Anyway.
[01:38:34.560] - Benjamin
Yeah. I thought his last moments were actually very touching. It's strange, isn't it time? Because the way that you describe what took place in the execution Chamber, it is like at the very end, for the first time in the whole year long saga, he actually did show a little more. It was like he actually did gain an understanding of what he had done, and he was sorry for it. And of course, you're prone to feel any number of things when, you know, when the rope is slipped around your neck.
But just by way of his attitude, it seemed like it was genuine.
[01:39:22.050] - Tom Hughes
One of the things that was mentioned was when he got off the elevator, there was a small hallway that led to the gallows, and these gallows were purpose built for executions. There were two on that day. Frank was the second. So they had to reconfigure a new rope. And as Frank walked down the hallway, there was a window overlooking the street where there were hundreds, if not more, people gathered below, and Frank looked out. His brother was with him, his brother Joe, and he said, turned to Joe and said, Boy, that's some crowd, isn't it?
So there was still that sense that he had done something special to bring all these people into the street, that some crowd, isn't it? Well, then they bring him into the gallows scene and Joe was overcome. He had to leave. There was one of the more faithful preachers followed him to the gallows and they prayed together. And Frank said, I'm going to heaven. And the preacher said, Frank, I believe you are. I believe you are repentant. And I am sure that this day you will be with your savior.
And then he was tied up as they did tied your hands and legs, so there would be no jerking about. And it all went as planned. There was no unnecessary suffering. He was hanged until dead and his body released to a mortuary, and he was taken back to Abbeyville, South Carolina, in his hometown and buried there in a beautiful little cemetery I have visited.
[01:41:06.030] - Benjamin
And you write that contrary to both some expectations at the time, as well as some fairly maybe flawed retrospectives, that Frank's hanging did not actually have much of an impact on capital punishment in Georgia immediately thereafter, did it? It didn't seem to really perturb the water, so to speak.
[01:41:35.710] - Tom Hughes
No, it didn't received a lot of attention. And when the Georgia legislature met in 1922, there was an effort, a bill to establish what we now know is life without parole. It wouldn't be for every convicted killer. But when circumstances merited it life without parole. Some of the jury men had suggested that if you give somebody mercy, who's to know that 20 years later he'll be able to apply for parole. So this would have been the one way to let people know that, yes, this was a horrible crime.
And we're not ever going to let this person out of prison life without parole. But there was no general support for it outside of the small coterie of clergymen and what they called sob sister women and maudlin sentimentalists who had gathered around the debris effort. It did not go anywhere in the Georgia legislature, and Georgia was, as we all know, one of the holdouts and still does have capital punishment in the state of Georgia to this day. And we have life without parole now, too, as well.
[01:43:03.270] - Benjamin
Tom, your portrait of Atlanta in this time period is incredibly detailed, from street roots to what people were wearing to verbatim conversations that were passing between sort of the major players.
What kinds of sources were you working with in order to tell this story and where did you find them?
[01:43:52.090] - Tom Hughes
Well, I relied heavily on the newspapers. There were three newspapers in Atlanta in 1922. The Constitution, the Journal and the Georgian and the city directories are an excellent resource for whether they lived at 24 Whitehall or 26 White Hall. So I like that kind of detail. I've always been fascinated by the geographical setting of crimes or other incidents that I've written about. And fortunately, I live in Atlanta, so I have an access to the Atlanta History Center and the Atlanta Public Library, which has these newspaper collections.
And now, as I may have mentioned last week, the digitization of newspapers has begun. I love it. They're not inexpensive, but I subscribe to newspapers, dot com, and they are just amazing resources. Once you get used to searching and narrowing your search, you'll find incredible stuff. And I love the detail. I've always loved details in books I read, like lived on this street or he was wearing a blue baseball cap. That kind of detail, I think, is essential to telling a story.
[01:45:22.930] - Benjamin
Where did you find a court transcript for Frank's trial? Because there was some really remarkable stuff in there. You even described a guy who was going around door to door Hawking a copy for $0.15 that he types up an email.
[01:45:34.690] - Tom Hughes
Well, that was in the newspaper. But the state archives are south of Atlanta. And because of the appeal to the state Supreme Court, there is a huge box of material about state versus Dupree. And in that box were the petitions sent to Governor Hardwick. So that photograph was taken at the state archives in Morrow, just south of Atlanta. And they were very helpful there. That's another resource that if anything gets into the court system, they don't throw anything out. It's incredible that you would think this incident as tragic as it was and the fate of so many people involved in it, that why do we keep these records around just so a guy can come in and write a book about it someday?
[01:46:35.050] - Benjamin
One of the things that really charmed me in your depiction of this time period. I mean, it is just so vivid was, yes, you have things that enter the legal record, but then you also have aspects of Atlanta society in this day and age that probably would not leave the same kind of trace. And you have this great discussion. I wish we could have spent more time on it because there's so much to kind of say and frankly giggle at a little bit. But your discussion of the science of humanity, which is this sort of like it is this quack amalgamation of other quack Sciences like phrenology.
And you've got these sort of humanological experts that are coming in to examine Frank and determine his mental fitness. I mean, what the hell, man?
[01:47:30.650] - Tom Hughes
When they started to raise issues about his mental capability, the prosecutor sent this local doctor, Dr. Escridge, who was just a GP, I guess. And he went in the full report, which is in the state archives. He discusses Frank's testicles and his body. At the end of it, he concludes that he seems to be entirely mentally capable. And there would be no, it was just like an interview with him. And then at the later appeals, a Lady, Ms. Mason came up and gave him an IQ test.
And she asked him several questions, like, if someone brought you a stolen Apple, what would you do? And he said, I'd eat it because I didn't steal it. And she said, this proves that he doesn't know right from wrong. And she was the one who characterized him as a high grade moron. And she said he also gotten in with Betty Andrews, who was also a high grade moron. So the two of them, but none of this proved to be of any use to the ultimate battle of saving Frank deprived.
[01:48:50.350] - Benjamin
Yeah, two PS and a pod there. Well, look, if I can put in just kind of a small request for maybe one of your next research projects, if you happen to stumble on any proceedings of the Atlanta area chapter of the American Humanological Society, would you please just spend a few minutes with those and bring those to the rest of us?
[01:49:12.530] - Tom Hughes
I'll look them up.
[01:49:14.390] - Benjamin
I appreciate it. Well, the last question that I have for you is you mentioned that we are now in the Centennial year of these events. The murder itself took place where you and I are speaking here in January 2022. The murder took place 100 years ago. Last month. He was apprehended right around this time 100 years ago, and then he was executed on September 1 of this year, 100 years ago. Our listeners and history press readers generally, they love crime, but they also love ghosts. And you have a rather startling account of something that happened on the one year anniversary of Frank's execution in the Tower.
Tell us about that. And then I have a question for you.
[01:50:15.650] - Tom Hughes
Well, a young man was in the cell where Frank had been held until he departed for the 6th floor. And Howard Wright was the gentleman's name. And he told in Atlanta newspaper that Frank spirit had been coming around for a few weeks now. But Mr. Wright was too afraid to talk to the spirit. He would just hang around the cell. I want to talk to him, but I can't muster up enough courage, told the newspaper, and he thought he would offer Frank a cigarette because he remembered how he had been wanting to smoke a cigarette.
And he said that the man was dressed just like Frank was. And in that one suit he seemed to wear all the time. And he asked about Betty. Where was Betty Andrews? And the guy said, Well, Betty is not here. Betty's gone, and Frank never came back. But he was sure it was the ghost of Frank Dupri, who had returned to his cell at the tower where he spent his final days.
[01:51:23.930] - Benjamin
You raise an interesting question, which is, what are the mechanics of offering a ghost a cigarette? Do you have to smoke?
[01:51:34.770] - Tom Hughes
It's probably a fanciful story. I read a lot of old newspapers with a skeptical eye. I think they were wonderfully written by these reporters. Who were excellent writers. And I think they did a lot of this stuff to gin up sales. They'd have a NEWSBOY. Ghost to Frank, to pray. Ghost to Frank, to pray. Read all about it. And whether I'm sure the guy said there was a ghost, I saw the ghost of Frank Dupree. And thanks to my intensive research, I have prolonged that legend for another century.
[01:52:15.730] - Benjamin
Well, the question that I have for you is the old Fulton County jail. The tower no longer exists. It was demolished in the early 60s. But do you have any plans this coming September to maybe take a walk around the old block and see who you might see and carry a pack of smokes with you? Just in case.
[01:52:43.120] - Tom Hughes
Yeah, I'd have to buy a pack of cigarettes somewhere. They're pretty expensive now, but I have no current plans, but I'm very glad that you all reached out to me about the time of this centenary. And I think it's timely because Atlanta not alone. But Atlanta is a city in 2022, just as it was in 1922. With a crime problem. It's not unique to Atlanta. We've seen a lot of it around the country during these very difficult times. So there's a certain similarity. There was an epidemic.
The flu epidemic pandemic. Now crime crime. And I really appreciate the opportunity to talk about Frank and the Peach rebanded story.
[01:53:38.110] - Benjamin
Well, the residences are real, and we thank you, Tom. If you find yourself over that way, nine months from now and you get a little trimmer the air, give us a shout, will you?