although it is
received 10 or
Who was Lizzie Borden?
On August 4, 1892, in Fall River, Massachusetts.
Lizzie Borden called the maid Bridget Sullivan to
come down from her bedroom. When she came
down she found the body of Andrew Borden , 70,
“hacked almost beyond recognition.” A neighbor
who came to comfort, Adelaide Churchill found
the body of Abby Borden,, 65, Lizzie’s
stepmother on the second floor of the house.
Andrew’s body was warm. There was a wound
on his left temple that made it seem like he was
whacked with the dull edge of an axe.
Abby’s body was cold.
The Fall River Murders of 1892
Andrew Borden was a very wealthy business with a net
worth of about $10 million in today’s money. Along with
being wealthy, he was very unpopular. He made many
enemies while climbing up the ladder to become head of
one of Fall River’s largest banks and a substantial
Possible Suspects included local businessmen, neighbors
and even the maid Bridget Sullivan who was an Irish
Andrew Borden’s enemies were not outside his
family as well. Andrew Borden was a frugal man
with his wealth – he didn’t even have plumbing
or electricity in their house! Also Andrew’s
marriage to Abby Gray distanced Lizzie and her
On August 11, Lizzie was arrested. Police were
curious about her actions for her parents’
murders. She seemed too calm and collected. She
also gave contradictory testimonies to police and
burned a dress she claimed was stained while
On June 5, 1893 in the New Bedford Courthouse, Lizzie was placed
on trial. She was before a panel of three judges and a jury of twelve
The prosecution claimed she was the only person who had the
motive and opportunity to commit the double murders.
The Commonwealth also stated that they didn’t need to show
motive – circumstantial evidence was just as valuable as direct
The Trial: Defense
The defense relied on the contradictions
of testimonies made by witnesses. The
defense also claimed that there were
many plot holes in the story.
- The difficulty to wash blood
off a person and clothes and hiding the
weapon in such a short amount of time
before calling on Bridget Sullivan.
- There was no proof that Lizzie
attempted to purchase prussic acid to
harm her family. Or that she
contradicted herself at her inquest
The trial was a media sensationalist frenzy. It was mysterious
and had a great story in all its grotesqueness. News of the
murders and subsequent trial were broadcast around the
After the trial, Lizzie and her sister Emma bought a house on
“the Hill” which they called “Maplecroft.” She also changed
her name to Lizbeth. She had an interest in theatre who
attended many plays and befriended artists – one being Nance
O’Neil. Lizzie lived in Maplecroft until her in 1927. She was 67
and was buried next to her parents, Andrew and Abby Borden
at the Oak Grove Cemetrary.
Life After The Trial
Honestly, this trial was very confusing for me. There were
many plot holes to the origin story and the trial.
Ultimately I think the verdict was fair due to the lack of
evidence concerning the trial. There was no direct evidence to
link Lizzie Borden to the murders. The prosecution relied to
much on pressing her supposed motive and circumstantial
You must have some actual evidence to back up your claims,
no matter how obvious it seems. There was no murder
weapon or anything. Some witnesses they also used were
soon discredited (notably Hannah Reagan).
My Take: Right or Wrong?
However, even with lack of evidence and a not guilty
verdict., I believe there was some foul play with
Lizzie Borden and the murders.
Her actions after the deaths were very suspect as well
as her actions after the trial. (She used the money to
buy a swanky new home? She associated with
bohemians and the arts?) It doesn’t actually show a
woman emotional or mourning over someone’s death
much less her parents.
The only time she seemed to show emotion was
during trial when she fainted seeing her parents’
skulls – which might’ve been for show. It’s such an
odd case, she must have known something!
But we’ll never know.