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Lizzie Borden took an axe...

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Lizzie Borden took an axe...

PostThu Nov 20, 2014 6:03 pm

and gave her mother forty whacks
when she saw what she had done
she gave her father forty one

Not accurate though as her mother was her step-mother who was bludgeoned 18 times and her father 11 times on the head and Lizzie was deemed not guilty according to the verdict. Thing is it was a slanted trial, there was very important information that wasn't deemed admissible in the trial and the judge gave very biased instructions to the jury on the side of the defense. The jury made of 12 men as women were not allowed to be on the jury at that time did not hear the testimony of three people including the pharmacist who had identified her as the woman who tried to buy prussic acid (cyanide) the day before the murders as well as other testimony.

The grand jury testimony was more informative in my estimation than that of the trial but because Lizzie did not have a legal representative during the grand jury... all that testimony in which Lizzie also took the stand, a testimony by Lizzie in which she kept contradicting herself, was deemed inadmissible for the trial. As well if she had been declared guilty she would have been hanged and to hang a woman...well her just being a woman alone but also of Lizzie's background, heritage and reputation, her being a Borden and a properly trained one, a Sunday school teacher and member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union and respected member of the Church community would have been unheard of.

Primary people in the life of Lizzie Borden

Andrew Borden - Lizzie's father


Andrew Borden, born September 13, 1822, was an eighth generation high society man. He had been married twice. His first wife was Sarah Morse. Together they had three daughters. The middle child, Alice, died at the age of two. He married Abby Durgee Gray two years after Sarah died. Mr. Borden was the President of a major bank in his hometown of Fall River, owned substantial property, was the director of three major cloth mills, and was very wealthy.

Andrew's father was one of the few Borden men who had not retained the wealth associated with the family. His father was a fish peddler. Andrew, not wanting to follow in his father's footsteps, began as a carpenter's helper. Eventually, he became a partner with Frank Almy in a casket company. They sold Crane's Patented Casket Burial Cases.

Mr. Borden was known for his clothing. Summer or winter, he could be seen in his black, double-breasted Prince Albert and string tie. He was also known for his love of money. He was well on his way to becoming a millionaire. He worked 14-hour days. He was known to be somewhat of a tightwad. One of his prized properties was nearing completion the day he was brutally murdered. In downtown Fall River, it stands as the A.J. Borden Building.

Sarah Anthony Morse Borden - Lizzie's mother who died when Lizzie was two years old and her sister Emma was twelve years old.


Sarah Anthony Morse Borden 1823-1863, first wife of Andrew J. Borden and mother of Emma Lenora, Alice Esther and Lizzie Andrew Borden. She was the sister of John Vinnicum Morse, born September 19, 1823 in Somerset, Massachusetts. Daughter of Anthony and Rhody (Morrison) Morse, she married Andrew on Christmas day, 1845. Sarah died in Fall River on March 26, 1863. ... se-borden/

Abby Durfee Gray Borden - Lizzie's stepmother


Abby Borden, born in 1828, was the second wife to Andrew Borden. She was 37 years old and considered to be an old maid when they married. Abby used the Durfee to link her with one of the first families in the area. She desired respect and social status, but was often regarded as the daughter of a push cart peddler: to marry someone of Andrew's station was unexpected. Many at the time speculated Andrew had proposed because he was looking for a housekeeper and a someone to raise his daughters.

The relationship between Abby and her stepdaughter Lizzie remains something of a mystery. There is no documentary evidence of abuse or neglect. Several persons, however, including prosecution witnesses in the murder trial, reported that the relationship was less than loving.

John Morse - Lizzie's uncle and brother of her deceased mother who was visiting the Borden household when the murders took place.


John was the brother of Andrew's first wife (Lizzie and Emma's mother). He appeared to be the only true friend Andrew had in life. The two men were always quite close. They had, at one point, gone into the casket making business together. However, the business relationship ended when John chose to move west on the advice of Horace Greeley. He first settled in Illinois and then moved to Iowa, where he lived for twenty-five years as a horse breeder.

Initial speculation centered on Morse as a prime suspect in the Borden murders. After all, he had arrived in town the day before the murder carrying few possessions. It seemed odd to many that he would come so far to visit a family for an undetermined amount of time with so little. And there was never any real reason for why he chose to visit. (speculation has it that Andrew was changing his will and that they had a meeting about it in the dining room the night before the murders)

Morse, however, was identified in town at the time of the murders, ending speculation that he and Lizzie were having an incestuous affair -- and that he was the mastermind of the murder plot.

Emma Borden - Lizzie's older sister who was believed to be visiting friends in nearby Fairhaven when the murders happened.


Born on March 1, 1851, Emma was the oldest of three daughters born to Sarah and Andrew Borden. When Sarah died, Emma was 12.

Emma was believed not to be home when her father and stepmother were murdered. (The story seems to be that she was off visiting some friends when the murders happened. She was notified by telegram by a family friend but took her time getting home waiting until the fourth train home after being notified).

Some accounts have Emma as the real murderess, but there is little evidence to support this theory. There is little knowledge of who Emma Borden really was. There are no records of her education, love life, etc. There are even few pictures of her.

Emma remained a supporter and friend to Lizzie (until their falling out). When Lizzie was charged with the murders, Emma became the sole heir to the Borden fortune. (Despite rumors that Andrew had a will, none was ever found.) She used the funds from the fortune to help Lizzie in her quest for innocence. (Emma and Lizzie purchased a home together after the trial and lived together in the large house until they had a falling out, the story is their falling out happened over Lizzie's bohemian parties with the theatre crowd and her friendship or relationship with actress Nance O'Neil, Whatever it was that happened they never seemed to have spoken again, Emma did not acknowledge Lizzie's death or attend her funeral)

On June 1, 1927, the day Lizzie died, Emma, living a reclusive life in New Hampshire, fell and broke her hip. She died nine days later, on June 10, 1927.

Bridget Sullivan - the Irish maid who was the only other person other than Lizzie who was officially at the house when the murders took place.


Bridget Sullivan in later years


Bridget Sullivan emigrated from Ireland in 1883. She came to the Borden family six years later as their live-in maid. No one is sure how old she was the day of the Borden murders, but it is estimated that she was in her mid-20's.

Bridget was in and around the Borden home on August 4, 1892. She was washing windows (despite experiencing the stomach flu), as Mrs. Borden had (supposedly) ordered her to do that morning.

Some people have speculated that Bridget was Lizzie's accomplice in the murders. How else, proponents of this theory suggest, would Bridget not have heard anything that fateful day?

Bridget took the stand at every phase of the trial. Her testimony neither helped nor hurt Lizzie. She always seemed, to most observers, to be truthful to the best of her knowledge (a near death bed confession implies she was holding back information that may have hurt Lizzie's defence).

One legend has Bridget being paid off by Lizzie and returning to Ireland. If she did return to Ireland she eventually changed her mind about living on a farm and returned to the U.S. got married and spent her later years leading a modest life in Montana..

Lizzie Borden


Lizzie in her senior years at her home in Fall River that she called Maplecroft


Lizzie was born on July 19, 1860. At the age of two, she suffered the loss of her mother. However, she remained close to her father. Lizzie told many she had no memory of her mother. Her older sister, Emma, appeared to be the only constant in Lizzie's life. Emma was friend and mother to a young Lizzie.

Lizzie knew her position in life and held it well. She was a typical high society young debutante. She belonged to numerous clubs. She was active member in her church. In all the organizations she participated in, Lizzie generally held a leadership role. She was often treasurer (because of her father's wealth) or secretary.

Despite her position, Lizzie remained unmarried. She resented her father (and Abby her step-mother) for the fact that she was not allowed the great benefits of being well-to-do.

Lizzie was thirty-two when the murders occurred. She inherited a substantial amount of money when she was found not guilty. After her acquittal, she fell into an unlikely circle of friends, primarily the theater and bohemian crowds (for a time).

Will continue later as it is time to eat lunch and this is a long topic as the more one researches into it the more complicated it gets. :?


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Re: Lizzie Borden took an axe...

PostThu Nov 27, 2014 4:07 pm

For any seriously interested in this case, it is imperative imo that you read this book 'The Fall River Tragedy: A History of the Borden Murders' by Edwin H. Porter, police reporter of the Fall River Globe.

Book is here: ... erTrag.pdf

The reason why this book is important to read amongst all the books on this murder mystery is because it was written at the time these events happened. Edwin Porter was a respected and thorough police reporter. It is said that all the copies of this book were bought up by Lizzie's lawyers so that the public would not have access to it and that only four or five copies remained.

Edwin H. Porter then seems to have fallen off the face of the earth after that, perhaps he was paid off or threatened or both. It is kind of dry reading in that it is not written as a novel but it does have much of the facts of the case, the grand jury and trial testimonies etc.. and other relevant information pertaining to the case that was happening at the time.

It is important in the case of the Borden murders to understand the layout of the house they lived in. The house had no hallways so to get to one room you had to go through another room in the house, it was also partitioned in two sections as far as living quarters go with Andrew and Abby's bedroom upstairs at the back of the house that was only accessible through a back staircase.

Lizzie and Emma's bedrooms at the front upstairs of the house were accessible only through the front staircase. There was a door between Lizzie's bedroom and Andrew and Abby's bedroom but it always remained locked on both sides as well as having furniture blocking it. The guestroom that John Morse was staying in and that was also the location of Abby's murder was upstairs in the front of the house next to Lizzie's bedroom, Emma's bedroom was only accessible through Lizzie's room. Bridget's bedroom was in the attic.

(edit of post)

Bridget had, according to official testimony, gone to her bedroom in the attic for a rest and had been up there for a time period after the Abby murder had already taken place and before Andrew had gotten home. She was also, according to her testimony, in her room in the attic when Andrew was murdered in the sitting room. Some people question how she could not have heard either murder or noticed anything amiss.

She said she had gone for a rest after having washed the outside windows as she had been given instructions to do by Abby (if Bridget's testimony is true then Abby was most likely murdered while she was washing the outside windows), it was also one of the hottest days of the year and Bridget was not feeling well and had vomited earlier outside before she was ordered to wash the windows, according to her testimony.

Prosecutor Knowlton was always convinced that Bridget knew more than she was saying or was involved somehow in the murders along with Lizzie as she was the only other person verified to have been in or around the house when both murders took place.

Her testimony comes off as truthful but she may have been holding back information, especially concerning all the tension that seemed to be in the household in the years leading up to the murders. Lizzie and Emma referred to her as Maggie, the name of their previous servant but Andrew and Abby more respectfully called her by her actual name, Bridget.

In her near death, near confession in her senior years when she was suffering from pneumonia, if it is to be believed, she told her close friend that she had told the truth but was holding back, she purportedly said that Lizzie paid for her trip back to Ireland and had given her the money to buy a farm in Ireland immediately after her testimony was no longer needed and she was made to promise never to return. She had threatened several times to leave the household and return to Ireland while she lived in the Borden household according to this report but Abby did not want her to leave as she had no one else to talk to.

She eventually tired of her farm in Ireland and sought permission from Lizzie's lawyer to return to the U.S. with no side trips to the location that she wanted to go where she would not ever be near the Fall River area and wouldn't be able to stir up any strife. She married and lived quietly...unnoticed as far as the case went for the remainder of her life.

She also purportedly said that she always (quietly) sided with Lizzie and Emma in the conflicts that were going on and that she had always liked Lizzie. Bridget was going to say more to her friend but she fell asleep and by the time her friend saw her the next day she was recovering and said that she had already told her too much.

(end of edit)

There had been a break in reported to the police some years before the murders but the investigation was eventually called off by Andrew Borden, Lizzie's father. Money and jewelry had been stolen at that time from Abby, those items had been in Andrew and Abby's bedroom. Lizzie was a known thief or kleptomaniac, she was known to steal from stores in Fall River but there was a deal with the stores that when Lizzie stole something the store clerks would not stop her or confront her, they would keep quiet about it and put the items on Andrew's tab and he would quietly pay for the items, thus avoiding public scandal.

It is a very good probability that Lizzie was the one who stole the money and jewelry out of Abby's room and that is most likely why Andrew, who was a known tightwad, had the investigation called off. From that point on the doors in the house were kept locked at all times which was a very unusual thing to do at the time. As well, from that time on Andrew always kept his and Abby's bedroom door locked and put the key on the mantelpiece downstairs in full view, an unusual thing to do if the thief had been a stranger who had broken in from the outside.

The Borden house was also unusual due to the fact that it did not have running water or electricity, they had to pump the water and use kerosene lamps. For a man of Andrew's vast wealth, a man who would be the equivalent of a multi-millionaire today, a man who could have had all the amenities that he wanted, this was highly unusual, if they wanted a bath they had to heat the water on the fire burning stove etc.. Lizzie and Emma were given an allowance but it was a small one for people of their standing and wealth.

There was a huge falling out years before the murders when Andrew transferred the deed of a farm he owned to Abbey's sister, it was then that Lizzie stopped calling Abby by the term 'mother' and started calling her Mrs. Borden. Lizzie and Emma felt that their father Andrew's real estate and holdings should be divided equaling between the three of them and there was much animosity over the belief that Abby influenced their father to give her relatives something they were not entitled to have.

Lizzie and Emma were what was known then as spinsters with not very good prospects as they were older, unmarried and without 'skills'. It was unheard of at that time for spinster daughters to move out of their parents household before there parent's deaths to make their own living, to live alone, with others, or for any other reason, it simply wasn't done.

They were basically entirely under the rules and conditions of their father, like it or not, and Andrew was known as a notorious tightwad, very strict, tightly wound and not very well liked. He did relent to Lizzie in sending her on a trip to Europe but the trip seemed to have made her mood worse upon return in having to live again in conditions that were not very pleasurable and with no prospects of the situation changing as far as their father (and possibly Abby) were concerned. Andrew had given Lizzie and Emma ownership of a farm in previous years but the rental income of the farm was so small and the costs of continual repairs on the property so much that in frustration Lizzie and Emma gave the ownership of the farm back to Andrew.

It would not have been much of a life of pleasure for Abby either as she seemed to have been looked down on by the upper community of Fall River, she was mocked for her stocky, overweight and not very pretty appearance, she didn't seemed to have any friends, only her younger sister and her sister's daughter, she rarely ventured outside the house. She did venture outside the house though the day before the murders, she went across the street to Dr. Bowen's house telling him she and Andrew had been ill and vomiting throughout the night and still didn't feel well, she told him she thought someone was poisoning them (Bridget also said later she was ill and vomiting). The doctor sent her home and disregarded what she said, he stopped by the house later, according to him, but Andrew sent him away saying he would not pay for an unsolicited doctors visit.

Some are suspicious of Dr. Bowen in this case and I do think some of those suspicions are warranted because of his behaviour at times after the murders which included burning a note or letter in the kitchen stove of the Borden household within sight of police that had the name 'Emma' on it and not giving any kind of reasonable explanation for why he had burned it or what was written on it. He may have been involved in some kind of cover-up at the very least.

There is some reason to believe that Andrew was about to change his will shortly before the murders and that he was going to leave the majority of it to Abby and a relatively small amount in context to both of his daughters. If this is the case then there would have been motive for the murders, as well Abby would have had to die first before Andrew if they were to receive the inheritance upon their deaths.

If Andrew had been murdered first then the majority of the inheritance would have gone to Abby's relatives. Andrew's actual will was never found but I find it impossible to believe that such a monetarily scrupulous and detailed man such as him would never have made a will. With Abby being declared to have been murdered first and then Andrew, the whole fortune was left to Lizzie and Emma.

Also another thing, Lizzie who ended up changing her name to Lizbeth was known as an avid animal lover throughout the remainder of her life after the murders. There had been an incident some time previous to the murders when Lizzie was keeping pigeons in the barn and caring for them, some local boys had trespassed into the barn to get some of the pigeons, Andrew became angry and went into the barn and decapitated them, imo this incident is of some importance.

I should include a man who was rumoured to be Andrew's illegitimate son, William Borden, a few believe he committed the murders in concert with Lizzie, whether he ever was the illegitimate son of Andrew has never been confirmed, his body ended up eventually being found hanged, he is believed to have committed suicide with a bottle of poison found on the ground underneath his hanged body. There was no evidence to believe that anyone had broken into the Borden home, no sign of forced entry, the doors were always locked and even Andrew Borden could not get into his own house shortly before he was murdered, Bridget had to let him in as the house was locked from the inside, normally he could have let himself in with his own key, this was after the murder of Abby had already taken place.

The Borden house as well as the barn in back where Lizzie said she was when Andrew was murdered. She contradicted her inquest testimony several times, changing the reasons why she said she went to the upper loft level of the barn during the time of the Andrew's murder (the contradictions were blamed by the defence on medication Lizzie had been given). A police official checked the upper level of the barn after the murders and said that there was a layer of dust on the entire floor of the barn loft and concluded that no one could have been up there during the time period Lizzie said she was.


Layout of the Borden House

Andrew's body was located at number 3 of the first floor in the sitting room.


Abby's body was located at number 1 of the second floor in the guest room.






There had been a lot of tension in the Borden household due to money.


The What is a given. The Who and the How badger our brains for a solution. Well, for some anyway. For me, it’s less a Who-dunnit than a How-dunnit. But let us examine this resource for the When of things.

It should first be mentioned that times given are based on various testimonies taken from the Fall River Police Witness Statements, Coroner’s Inquest, Preliminary Hearing and Superior Court Trial and are approximated as close as possible. It is nearly impossible to construct an absolutely correct Timeline for the following reasons:

1. Witnesses often changed their statements among any two or more of the above cited source documents and, having forgotten or realized their times were off, may have knowingly changed their testimony in order to be more credible.

2. Clocks and watches were not all in sync, and not all testified as to how they fixed the time.

3. Witnesses often drew their recollection of the time based on their routine daily schedules which cannot be precise day-to-day.

Conflicting testimonies from the same witness are sometimes shown and cited here. It is important to realize that there are three – and only three – times that definitively establish the window of opportunity for Andrew’s murder, the explosive first knowledge of the crime and subsequent entry into the house by “outsiders”. These 3 times are :

1. Bridget hearing the City Hall clock strike 11:00.

2. Officer Allen noting the time as 11:15 when City Marshal Hilliard received the call.

3. The 11:32 am time-stamp on the telegram Dr. Bowen sent to Emma.

All others are at the least conjecture in comparison, or at the most best-guess estimates – much like the following: :)

AUGUST 3, 1892

8:00 am Abby goes to see Dr. Bowen & tells him she fears she’s been poisoned. 9:00-10:00 Dr. Bowen gos to check on the Bordens notices Lizzie rushing up the stairs. Bowen is rebuked by Andrew for his unsolicited professional call.
10:00-11:30 am Lizzie visits Smith’s pharmacy on Main & Columbia Street & attempts to buy prussic acid from pharmacist Eli Bence. (PH310)
12:00 Noon Lizzie joins Andrew and Abby for the supper in the dining room.
12:35 am Uncle John Vinnicum Morse takes the train from New Bedford to Fall River. (CI98)
1:30 pm Morse walks from the train station to the Borden house.
2:00-4:00 pm John Morse and Andrew talk in Sitting Room; Lizzie hears their conversation. (TT141)
4:00 pm John Morse hires horse and wagon at Kirby’s Stable and drives to Swansea in late afternoon. (CI 99)
7:00 pm Lizzie visits Alice Russell with telling her she’s afraid “something will happen”.
8:45 pm Morse returns from Swansea, talks in sitting room with Andrew and Abby. (CI99)
9:00 pm Lizzie returns from Alice Russell’s, enters and locks the front door and goes immediately up to her room without speaking to her father or uncle.
9:15 pm Abby Borden retires to bed.
10:00 pm Andrew and Morse retire to bed.

AUGUST 4, 1892

6:15 am Bridget goes downstairs, gets coal and wood in cellar to start fire in kitchen stove, and takes in milk.
6:20 am Morse goes downstairs to Sitting Room.
6:30 am Abby comes downstairs, gives orders for breakfast to Bridget
6:40-6:50 am Andrew goes downstairs, empties slops, picks up pears and goes to barn.
6:45 am Bridget opens side (back) door for iceman.
7:00 am Bordens and Morse have breakfast in Dining Room. (Lizzie is still upstairs).
7:15 am Bridget sees Morse for first time at breakfast table.
7:30 am Bridget eats her breakfast, and then clears dishes.
7:45-8:45 Morse and Andrew talk in Sitting Room; Abby sits with them a short while before beginning to dust.
8:30 am Morse sees Abby go into the front hall.
8:45 am Andrew lets Morse out side door, invites him back for dinner.

8:45 am Morse leaves for Post Office and then to visit niece at Daniel Emery’s #4 Weybosset Street.
8:45-9:00 am Andrew goes back upstairs and returns wearing collar and tie, goes to sitting room
8:45-9:00 am Abby tells Bridget to wash windows, inside and out.
8:45-8:50 am Lizzie comes down and enters kitchen
8:45-9:00 am Bridget goes outside to vomit.
9:00 am Andrew leaves the house.
9:00 am Bridget returns, does not see Lizzie, sees Abby dusting in dining room, does not see Andrew.
9:00 am Abby goes up to guest room.
9:00-9:30 am Bridget cleans away breakfast dishes in kitchen.
9:30-10:00 am Abby Borden dies from blows to the head with a sharp instrument.
9:30 am Abraham G. Hart, Treasurer of Union Savings Bank, talks to Andrew at Bank.
9:30 am Morse arrives at #4 Weybosset Street to visit his niece and nephew.
9:30 am Bridget gets brush from cellar for washing windows
9:30 am Lizzie appears at back door as Bridget goes towards barn; Bridget tells Lizzie she need not lock door.
9:30-10:05 Andrew visits banks.
9:45 am John P. Burrill, Cashier, talks to Andrew at National Union Bank.
9:40 am Morse arrives at the Emery’s on Weybosset Street.
9:50-10:00 am AJB deposits Troy Mill check with Everett Cook at First Nat’l Bank; talks with William. Carr. (WS29)
9:30-10:20 am Bridget washes outside windows, stops to talk to “Kelly girl” at south side fence.
10:00-10:30 am Mrs. Churchill sees Bridget outside washing NE windows. 10:15-10:30 am Andrew stops to talk to Jonathan Clegg, picks up old lock; Southard Miller (at Whitehead’s Market) sees AJB turn onto Spring St; Mary Gallagher sees AJB at corner of South Main & Spring with a small package in his hand (WS10); Lizzie Gray sees AJB turning north on Second Street. (WS10, 43)
10:20 am Bridget re-enters house from side door, commences to wash inside windows.
10:29 am Jonathan Clegg (fixed time by City Hall clock) stated Andrew left his shop heading home. (TT173)
10:30-10:45 Joseph Shortsleves& James Mather finish talking with Andrew on Main St. as he heads towards Spring Street. (WS10)
10:30-10:40 am Joseph Shortsleeves sees Andrew.
10:40 am James Mather sees Andrew leave shop (fixes time by City Hall clock)
10:40 am Mrs. Kelly observes Andrew going to his front door.
10:40 am Andrew Borden can’t get in side door, fumbles with key at front door, and let in by Bridget
10:40 am Bridget hears Lizzie laugh on the stairs as she says “pshaw” fumbling with inside triple locks.
10:40 am Bridget sees Lizzie go into Dining Room and speak “low” to her father.
10:40-10:43 am Andrew goes upstairs to his bedroom and returns in a few minutes, going to Sitting Room sofa.
10:45 am Mary Chase, residing over Wade’s store, sees man on Borden fence taking pears. (WS45)
10:45-10:55 am Lizzie puts ironing board on dining room table as Bridget finishes last window in the dining room
10:45-10:55 am Lizzie asks Bridget in kitchen if she’s going out, tells her of note to Abby & sale at Sargeants.
10:50-10:55 Mark Chase observes man with open buggy parked just beyond tree in front of Borden house.
10:55-10:58 am Bridget goes up to her room in attic and lies down on her bed. (WS3)
10:55-11:00 am Andrew Borden dies from blows to the head with a sharp instrument.
11:00 am Addie Churchill leaves her house for Hudner’s grocery store on South Main. (WS8)
11:00 am Bridget hears City Hall clock chime 11:00.
11:05-11:10 am Hyman Lubinsky, peddling ice cream, drives his horse cart past the Borden house. (TT1423)
11:05-11:10 William Sullivan, clerk at Hudner’s Market notes Mrs. Churchill leaving the store. (WS10)
11:10 am Lizzie hollers to Bridget to come down, “Someone has killed father”. (TT244)
11:10-11:12 am Lizzie sends Bridget to get Dr. Bowen. (TT245)
11:10-11:13 am Bridget rushes back across the street from Bowen’s, tells Lizzie he’s not at home. (TT245)
11:10-11:13 am Lizzie asks Bridget if she knows where Alice Russell lives and tells her to go get her. (TT245)
11:10-11:13 am Bridget grabs her hat & shawl from kitchen entry way and rushes to Alice Russell’s. (TT245)
11:10-11:13 am Mrs. Churchill observes Bridget crossing street, notices a distressed Lizzie and calls out to Lizzie who says “someone’s killed father’. (PH281-282) 11:10-11:13 am Mrs. John Gormely says Mrs. Churchill runs through her house yelling “Mr. Borden is murdered!” (WS9)
11:10-11:12 am Mrs. Churchill goes to side door of Borden house, speaks briefly to Lizzie then crosses street looking for a doctor. (PH283)
11:12-11:14 am John Cunningham sees Mrs. Churchill talking to others then uses phone at Gorman’s paint shop to call Police.
11:15 am Marshall Hilliard receives call from news dealer Cunningham about disturbance at Borden house.
11:15 am Marshall Hilliard orders Officer Allen to go to Borden house. (Allen notes exact time on office wall clock).
11:16 – 11:20 am Mrs. Churchill returns from giving the alarm. (PH284)
11:16 – 11:20 am Dr. Bowen pulls up in his carriage, met by his wife, rushes over to Borden’s. (PH 273)
11:16-11:20 am John Cunningham checks outside cellar door in Borden back yard, finds it locked.
11:18-11:20 am Dr. Bowen sees Andrew, asks for sheet; alone with Lizzie for approx. one minute.
11:20 am Office Allen arrives and is met at door by Dr. Bowen. Sees Lizzie sitting alone at kitchen table.
11:20-11:21 am Allen sees Andrew’s body at same time Alice Russell and Mrs. Churchill come in. (Where was Bridget?)
11:20-11:22 am Allen checks front door and notes it bolted from inside, checks closets in dining room and kitchen.
11:20 am Morse departs Daniel Emery’s on Weybosset Street, takes a streetcar back to the Borden’s.
11-22-11:23 am Officer Allen leaves house to return to station, Bowen goes out with him. Allen has Sawyer guard back door.
11:23-11:25 am Dr. Bowen returns home, checks rail timetable, goes to telegram Emma, and stops at Baker’s Drug store. Telegram is time stamped at 11:32. (PH274)
11:25 am Off. Patrick Doherty, at Bedford & Second, notes City Hall clock time enroute to Station. (T589)
11:23-11:30 am Lizzie asks to check for Mrs. Borden; Bridget & Mrs. Churchill go upstairs, discover body. (PH29-30)
11:35 George Petty, former resident of 92 Second Street, enters the house with Dr. Bowen. (WSp21)
11:40 am Bowen returns to Borden house. Churchill tells him they’ve discovered Abby upstairs. (TT322)
11:34 am Bridget fetches Doctor Bowen’s wife, Phoebe. (T250)
11:35-11:40 am Officer Patrick Doherty & Deputy Sheriff Wixon arrive at house, see Manning sitting on steps, met at backdoor by Dr. Bowen, who lets them in. (T447)
11:35-11:40 am Francis Wixon and Dr. Bowen check Andrew’s pockets and remove watch.
11:35-11:40 Officer Doherty questions Lizzie who tells him she heard a “scraping” noise.
11:35-11:40 am Officer Doherty views Abby’s body with Dr. Bowen, pulls bed out to view her better. (PH330)
11:35-11:45 am Morse arrives at Borden house, first going to back yard.
11:39-11:40 am Officer Medley arrives at 92 Second Street. (T686)
11:40-11:45 am Doherty runs to Undertaker Gorman’s shop around corner and phones Marshall Hilliard. (PH331)
11:45 am Doherty returns; Officers Mullaly, Allen, Denny, and Medley arrive.
11:45 am Dr. Dolan arrives, sees bodies.
11:45 am Morse walks thru side gate, talks to Sawyer at side door, (later testifies he heard of murders from Bridget.)
11:45-11:50 am Morse sees Andrew’s body, then goes upstairs and sees Abby’s body.
11:50 am Morse speaks to Lizzie as she lays on lounge in dining room.
11:50-11:55 Lizzie goes up to her room.
11:55 am Asst. Marshall Fleet arrives; sees bodies; talks to Lizzie in her room w/Rev. Buck, says “…she’s not my mother, she’s my stepmother” (PH354)
11:55 am Morse goes out to back yard and stays outside most of the afternoon.
11:50 am -Noon Deputy Sheriff Wixon climbs back fence cutting his hand, and talks to workmen sawing wood in Chagnon yard. (TT452)
11:50-Noon Doherty, Fleet and Medley accompany Bridget to cellar where she shows them a handless hatchet in a box on a shelf.
12:15-12:20 pm Officer Harrington arrives at the Borden house. (WS6)
12:25 pm Officer Harrington interviews Lizzie in her bedroom (she wears pink wrapper). (WS6)
12:45 pm Marshall Hillliard & Officers Doherty & Connors drive carriage to Andrew’s upper farm in Swansea.
3:00 pm Bodies are photographed by Walsh. (PH160)
3:30 pm Crime scene photographs are taken of Andrew & Abby.
3:40 pm Emma leaves on New Bedford train for Weir Junction to return to Fall River. (CI107)
4:00 pm Stomachs of Andrew and Abby removed and sealed by Dr. Dolan.
5:00 pm Emma returns from Fairhaven and arrives at the Borden house. (TT1550)
5:00-5:30 pm State Detective George F. Seaver arrives from Taunton. (PH453)
5:30 pm Dr. Dolan “delivers” bodies of Andrew and Abby to Undertaker James Winward. (PH388)
6:00 pm Alice leaves 92 Second Street to return home for supper. (CI149)
8:45 pm Officer Joseph Hyde, observing from a northwest outside window, sees Lizzie & Alice go down cellar.
9:00 pm Officer Hyde observes Lizzie return to cellar by herself. ... -timeline/

Here is an older movie about the Borden murders starring Elizabeth Montgomery who was actually related to Lizzie Borden. Not very accurate but you can see a bit of the layout of the house as they portrayed in the movie and the theory they have is interesting. On the day of the murders an autopsy was done on Andrew and Abby in the Borden house and the bodies were left there overnight on the dining room table. Lizzie, Emma, John Morse and Lizzie's friend Alice Russell spent the night of the murders in the house with John Morse staying in the guest room Abby had been horribly murdered in.

At about 8:45pm according to the police who were keeping watch over the house that night from outside, Lizzie and Alice went into the basement, Alice stood watch with her lantern as Lizzie used the make shift toilet (privy), according to the police officer who was watching through the basement window, Alice looked frightened but Lizzie seemed calm, they went back upstairs to bed.

Lizzie very shortly after that came back downstairs by herself and went into the basement, she appeared calm and was seen bending over the sink for a few minutes and then she went back upstairs. There was a basin as well in the basement filled with bloody water and menstrual rags, found shortly after the police arrived after the murders but the police stayed away from it because at the time it was a very real taboo for men to speak about or have anything to do with women's menstrual periods, women didn't even refer to it as such in public. So even in a murder investigation the police did not investigate the vessel of bloody water in the basement.

phpBB [video]

Another unusual thing about this case is the lack of blood spatter surrounding the horrendous wounds of the victims, according to experts in blood spatter there should have been far more blood surrounding the bodies of the victims, this leads me to a suspicion but I will have to find out more before I say what that suspicion is.

Why, one must ask, would Lizzie have remained in the house immediately after discovering the horribly mutilated and murdered body of her father, sending Bridget and Mrs. Churchill away for various reasons while she remained in the house. Any normal person would have been terrified that the murderer was still in the house and so repulsed and frightened by the sight of their murdered father that they would in all likelihood have wanted to flee the vicinity to get help themselves, that is unless they knew who was responsible for it and therefore knew they had nothing to fear.

Andrew Borden

Abby's body was moved before these photos were taken according to the Fall River Historical Society and others, according to them she was attempting to hide under the bed and her body was partially under the bed when it was initially found.


Autopsy photos of Abby Borden (poor woman.. they both suffered such horrific deaths, Abby unfortunately knew what was coming immediately beforehand and tried to save herself) :sad:


The bodies of Andrew and Abby were confiscated at the gravesite after their funerals just before they were to buried, a second autopsy was performed on them, their heads were removed, their skin removed and their heads were reduced to skulls with replicas being made of them for the trial, eventually their heads are said to have been buried at their gravesites below their feet. :? though some say Andrew's skull was never returned.

There is some confusion about this on my part, this photo is sited as being the skulls of Andrew and Abby along with the possible murder weapon presented in the trial which would have had a long handle during the murders, I don't know if they are or aren't. I tend to think the actual murder weapon might not have been found yet and may never be found but that is conjecture on my part.


The Inquest of Lizzie Borden
August 9 - August 11, 1892
Fall River, Massachusetts Court Building
Questioning by District Attorney Hosea Knowlton:

Q Give me your full name.
A Lizzie Andrew Borden.

continued here: ... quest.html

Inquest excerpt:

Q: Miss Borden, did you burn the dress in question because you murdered your stepmother, then your father, and the dress was stained with their blood, following your assault?

A: Are you accusing me of murdering Father and Mrs. Borden?

Note that she answers a question with a question, making the specifically asked question, "Sensitive" to Ms. Borden.
Note next the order of the question: she mentions the father before the step mother.
Note the wording she used: "Father" and "Mrs. Borden"

The lack of title for her step mother indicates a troubled relationship based upon analysis of social introductions.

Q: That would be correct.

A: Do you realize how insulting that is?

The question is to be seen as very sensitive now, as she has not only answered the question with a question, but piled a second question upon it.

Q: Miss Borden, you do realize you are present at this proceeding as a suspect in these crimes?

A: Yes, and I believe you are wasting your time, laboring under said delusion.

"Yes" is a good answer: she knows why she is present.
She then chides prosecution for wasting time and laboring under delusion.

Q: Miss Borden, did you or did you not burn the dress because it was stained with the victims' blood?

A: I've told you, it was stained with paint.

She avoided the question again, and due to the internal stress of lying, she does not lie. She uses a self reference, "I've told you" and then presents an unrelated truth: it was stained with paint. This is not to say that it was not also stained with blood, but that it had paint. This is a good example of how deceptive people are counting on you to interpret their words rather than listen. This is not lost on the prosecutor who then asks the specific question:

Q: Were there any blood stains on the dress?

A: It would depend on your definition of "stains."

For history buffs: Lizzie Borden lived long before President Clinton. "It depends on what the definition of "is" is. "

Q: As in, visible to the naked eye.

A: Mr. Knowlton, had I known you would be so interested in that paint-stained dress, I never would have burned it.

Note that she uses his name, "Mr. Knowlton" and continued to avoid answering.
Here would have been good opportunity for Lizzie to issue a reliable denial. ... ok-ax.html

Prosecuting District Attorney Knowlton


Hosea Knowlton was a reluctant prosecutor, forced into the role by the politically timid Arthur Pillsbury, Attorney General of Massachusetts, who should have been the principal attorney for the prosecution. As Lizzie's trial date approached, Pillsbury felt the pressure building from Lizzie's supporters. Pillsbury directed Knowlton, District Attorney of Fall River, to lead the prosecution, and assigned William Moody, District Attorney of Essex County, to assist him. One author, Pearson, calls Knowlton "a courageous public official," while a second, Sullivan, considers his performance at the trial to be "a clear pattern of reluctance and lethargy." Shortly after the trial, Knowlton replaced Pillsbury as Attorney General.

District Attorney William Moody


The trial lasted fourteen days, from June 5, 1893, to June 20, 1893. After a day to select the jury twelve middle-aged farmers and tradesmen the prosecution took about seven days to present its case

Moody, according to Sullivan, was the most competent attorney involved in the Borden trial. He was the most thorough in the questioning of witnesses Knowlton, in contrast, would sometimes open a line of questioning and then walk away from it and Moody's arguments to the court about the admissibility of evidence were impressive, even if they failed to sway the three judges. His opening statement delineating the issues that the prosecution would bring to the demonstration of Lizzie's guilt were clear, firm, and logical.

William Moody made the opening statements for the prosecution. He presented three arguments. First, Lizzie was predisposed to murder her father and stepmother and that she had planned it. Second, that she did in fact murder them, and, third, that her behavior and contradictory testimony was not consistent with innocence. At one point, Moody threw a dress onto the prosecution table that he was to offer later in evidence. As the dress fell on the table, the tissue paper covering the fleshless skulls of the victims was wafted away. Lizzie slid to the floor in a dead faint.

Crucial to the prosecution case was the presentation of evidence that supplied a motive for the murders. Prosecutors Knowlton and Moody called witnesses to establish that Mr. Borden was intending to write a new will. An old will was never found, or did not exist, although Uncle John testified at first that Mr. Borden had told him that he had a will, and then testified that Mr. Borden had not told him of a will.

The new will, according to Uncle John, would leave Emma and Lizzie each $25,000, with the remainder of Mr. Borden's half million dollar estate well over ten million in present-day dollars going to Abby. Further, Knowlton developed the additional motive of Mr. Borden's intent to dispose of his farm to Abby, just as he had done the year before with the duplex occupied by Abby's sister, Sarah Whitehead. Knowlton then turned to Lizzie's "predisposition" towards murder. However, two rulings by the court were crucial to Lizzie's eventual verdict of innocent.

On Saturday, June 10, the prosecution attempted to enter Lizzie's testimony from the inquest into the record. Robinson objected, since it was testimony from one who had not been formally charged. On Monday, when court resumed, the justices disallowed the introduction of Lizzie's contradictory inquest testimony.

On Wednesday, June 14, the prosecution called Eli Bence, the drug store clerk, to the stand, and the defense objected. After hearing arguments from both the prosecution and the defense as to the relevance of Lizzie's attempt to purchase prussic acid (cyanide), the justices ruled the following day that Mr. Bence's testimony and the entire issue of her alleged attempt to buy poison was irrelevant and inadmissible. ... ial_4.html

Defense Attorney Andrew J. Jennings


Jennings was one of Fall River's most prominent citizens. He had been Andrew Borden's lawyer, and from the day of the murders on, he became Lizzie's adviser and attorney. He was a taciturn man who never spoke of the Borden case in the thirty years he lived after its conclusion. Without a doubt, it is Jennings, along with his younger colleague, Melvin Adams, who worked successfully to exclude testimony that would have been damaging to Lizzie.

George D. Robinson


Melvin O. Adams


However, even with his lack of legal experience, the third lawyer for the defense, George Robinson, brought a prominent and respected personality to the proceedings. The fact that he had appointed Justice Dewey to the Superior Court certainly did not hurt their cause.

For the most part, the defense called witnesses to verify the presence of a mysterious young man in the vicinity of the Borden home, and Emma Borden to verify the absence of a motive for Lizzie as the murderer.

Emma Borden is something of an enigma. She is variously described as shy, retiring, small, plain looking, thin-faced and bony an unremarkable forty-three-year-old spinster. The most well-known depiction of her is an unsatisfactory drawing made of her in court. She was supportive of Lizzie during the trial, although there is one witness, a prison matron, who testified that Lizzie and Emma had an argument when Emma was visiting her in jail.

On Monday, June 19, defense attorney Robinson delivered his closing arguments and Knowlton began his closing arguments for the prosecution, completing them on the next day. Lizzie was then asked if she had anything to say. For the only time during the trial, she spoke. She said, "I am innocent. I leave it to my counsel to speak for me." Justice Dewey, who had been appointed to the Superior Court bench by then Governor Robinson, then delivered his charge to the jury, which was, in effect, a second summation of the case for the defense, remarkable in its bias. ... en/4b.html

Judge Dewey spoke for the three judges when he gave the jury their instructions concerning the law and evidence in the case. First, he reiterated the defense's point that the prosecutors had relied on circumstantial evidence. Second, he dismissed her inconsistent statements to the police after the murders as being normal under the circumstances. Having thus effectively challenged the basis of the prosecution's case, Judge Dewey went on to remind the jury members of their duty to Lizzie:

If the evidence falls short of providing such conviction in your minds, although it may raise a suspicion of guilt, or even a strong probability of guilt, it would be your plain duty to return a verdict of not guilty.… [S]eeking only the truth, you will lift this case above the range of passion and prejudice and excited feeling, into the clear atmosphere of reason and law. ... izzie.html

At 3:24, the jury was sworn, given the case, and retired to carry out their deliberations. At 4:32, a little over an hour later, the jury returned with its verdict. Lizzie was found not guilty on all three charges. The jury was earnestly thanked by the court, and dismissed. ... en/4b.html

Jury of Lizzie Borden Trial


(edit note) I have made various additions to the above post as well as a couple of corrections, for instance it was not 3:00am the early morning after the murders as I wrote that Lizzie and Alice went down to the basement and then Lizzie by herself, it was 8:45pm the night of the day the murders had taken place.

Does anyone else have any theories or thoughts to share concerning these murders? I would be interested to hear.


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Re: Lizzie Borden took an axe...

PostSat Nov 29, 2014 12:02 am


inquest excerpt of Lizzie Borden:

Q Can you give me any information how it happened at that particular time you should go into the chamber of the barn to find a sinker to go to Marion with to fish the next Monday?
A I was going to finish my ironing. My flats were not hot. I said to myself, "I will go and try and find that sinker. Perhaps by the time I get back, the flats will be hot". That is the only reason.
Q How long had you been reading an old magazine before you went to the barn at all?
A Perhaps half an hour.
Q Had you got a fish line?
A Not here. We had some at the farm.
Q Had you got a fish hook?
A No sir.
Q Had you got any apparatus for fishing at all?
A Yes, over there.
Q Had you any sinkers over there?
A I think there were some. It is so long since I have been there, I think there were some.
Q You had no reason to suppose you were lacking sinkers?
A I don't think there were any on my lines.
Q Where were your lines?
A My fish lines were at the farm here.
Q What made you think there were no sinkers at the farm on your lines?
A Because some time ago when I was there, I had none.
Q How long since you used the fish lines?
A Five years, perhaps.
Q You left them at the farm then?
A Yes sir.
Q And you have not seen them since?
A Yes sir.
Q It occurred to you after your father came in it would be a good time to go to the barn after sinkers and you had no reason to suppose there was not abundance of sinkers at the farm and abundance of lines?
A The last time I was there, there were some lines.
Q Did you not say before you presumed there were sinkers at the farm?
A I don't think I said so.
Q You did say so exactly. Do you now say you presume there were not sinkers at the farm?
A I don't think there were any fishing lines suitable to use at the farm. I don't think there were any sinkers on any line that had been mine.
Q Do you remember telling me you presumed there were lines and sinkers and hooks at the farm?
A I said there were lines, I thought, and perhaps hooks. I did not say I thought there were sinkers on my lines. There was another box of lines over there beside mine.
Q You thought there were not sinkers?
A Not on my lines.
Q Not sinkers at the farm?
A I don't think there were any sinkers at the farm. I don't know whether there were or not.
Q Did you then think there were no sinkers at the farm?
A I thought there were no sinkers anywhere or I should not have been trying to find some.
Q You thought there were no sinkers at the farm to be had?
A I thought there were no sinkers at the farm to be had.
Q That is the reason you went into the second story of the barn to look for a sinker?
A Yes sir.
Q What made you think you would find sinkers there?
A I heard father say, and I knew there was lead there.
Q What made you think you would find sinkers there?
A I went to see because there was lead there.
Q You thought there might be lead there made into sinkers?
A I thought there might be lead with a hole in it.
Q Did you examine the lead that was downstairs near the door?
A No sir.
Q Why not?
A I don't know.
Q You went straight to the upper story of the barn?
A No, I went under the pear tree and got some pears first.
Q Then went to the second story of the barn to look for sinkers for lines you had at the farm, as you supposed, as you had seen them there five years before that time?
A I went up to get some sinkers if I could find them. I did not intend to go to the farm for lines. I was going to buy some lines here.
Q You then had no intention of using your lines at Marion?
A I could not get them.
Q You had no intention of using your own line and hooks at the farm?
A No sir.
Q What was the use of telling me a while ago you had no sinkers on your line at the farm?
A I thought I made you understand that those lines at the farm were no good to use.
Q Did you not mean for me to understand one of the reasons you were searching for sinkers was that the lines you had at the farm, as you remembered then, had no sinkers on them?
A I said the lines at the farm had no sinkers.
Q I did not ask you what you said. Did you not mean for me to understand that?
A I meant for you to understand I wanted the sinkers and was going to have new lines.
Q You had not then bought your lines?
A No sir, I was going out Thursday noon.
Q You had not bought any apparatus for fishing?
A No hooks.
Q Had bought nothing connected with your fishing trip?
A No sir.
Q Was going to go fishing the next Monday, were you?
A I don't know that we should go fishing Monday.
Q Going to the place to go fishing Monday?
A Yes sir.
Q This was Thursday and you had no idea of using any fishing apparatus before the next Monday?
A No sir.
Q You had no fishing apparatus you were proposing to use the next Monday until then?
A No sir, not until I bought it.
Q You had not bought anything?
A No sir.
Q Had you started to buy anything?
A No sir.
Q The first thing in preparation for your fishing trip the next Monday was to go to the loft of that barn to find some old sinkers to put on some hooks and lines that you had not then bought?
A I thought if I found no sinkers, I would have to buy the sinkers when I bought the lines.
Q You thought you would be saving something by hunting in the loft of the barn before you went to see whether you should need them or not?
A I thought I would find out whether there were any sinkers before I bought the lines and if there was, I should not have to buy any sinkers. If there were some, I should only have to buy the lines and the hooks.
Q You began the collection of your fishing apparatus by searching for the sinkers in the barn?
A Yes sir.
Q You were searching in a box of old stuff in the loft of the barn?
A Yes sir, upstairs.
Q That you had never looked at before?
A I had seen them.
Q Never examined them before?
A No sir.
Q All the reason you supposed there was sinkers there was your father had told you there was lead in the barn?
A Yes, lead. And one day I wanted some old nails. He said there was some in the barn.
Q All the reason that gave you to think there was sinkers was your father said there was old lead in the barn?
A Yes sir.
Q Did he mention the place in the barn?
A I think he said upstairs. I'm not sure.
Q Where did you look upstairs?
A On that work-bench like.
Q In anything?
A Yes. In a box---sort of a box. And then some things lying right on the side that was not in the box.
Q How large a box was it?
A I could not tell you. It was probably covered up---with lumber, I think.
Q Give me the best idea of the size of the box you can.
A Well, I should say I don't know. I have not any idea.
Q Give me the best idea you have.
A I have given you the best idea I have.
Q What is the best idea you have?
A About that large. (Measuring with her hands)
Q That long?
A Yes.
Q How wide?
A I don't know.
Q Give me the best idea you have.
A Perhaps about as wide as it was long.
Q How high?
A It was not very high.
Q About how high?
A (Witness measures with her hands).
Q About twice the length of your forefinger?
A I should think so. Not quite.
Q What was in the box?
A Nails and some old locks and I don't know but there was a doorknob.
Q Anything else?
A I don't remember anything else.
Q Any lead?
A Yes, some pieces of tea-lead like.
Q Foil. What we call tinfoil; the same you use on tea chests?
A I don't remember seeing any tinfoil; not as thin as that.
Q Tea chest lead?
A No sir.
Q What did you see in shape of lead?
A Flat pieces of lead a little bigger than that. Some of them were doubled together.
Q How many?
A I could not tell you.
Q Where else did you look beside in the box?
A I did not look anywhere for lead except on the work bench.
Q How full was the box?
A It was not nearly as full as it could have been.
Q You looked on the bench. Beside that, where else?
A Nowhere except on the bench.
Q Did you look for anything else beside lead?
A No sir.
Q When you got through looking for lead, did you come down?
A No sir. I went to the west window over the hay, to the west window, and the curtain was slanted a little. I pulled it down.
Q What else?
A Nothing.
Q That is all you did?
A Yes sir.
Q That is the second story of the barn.
A Yes sir.
Q Was the window open?
A I think not.
Q Hot?
A Very hot.
Q How long do you think you were up there?
A Not more than 15 or 20 minutes, I should not think.
Q Should you think what you have told me would occupy four minutes?
A Yes, because I ate some pears up there.
Q Do you think all you have told me would take you four minutes?
A I ate some pears up there.
Q I asked you to tell me all you did.
A I told you all I did.
Q Do you mean to say you stopped your work and then, additional to that, sat still and ate some pears?
A While I was looking out of the window, yes sir.
Q Will you tell me all you did in the second story of the barn?
A I think I told you all I did that I can remember.
Q Is there anything else?
A I told you that I took some pears up from the ground when I went up. I stopped under the pear tree and took some pears up when I went up.
Q Have you now told me everything you did up in the second story of the barn?
A Yes sir.
Q I now call your attention and ask you to say whether all you have told me I don't suppose you stayed there any longer than was necessary?
A No sir, because it was close.
Q Can you give me any explanation why all you have told me would occupy more than three minutes?
A Yes. It would take me more than three minutes.
Q To look in that box that you have described the size of on the bench and put down the curtain and then get out as soon as you conveniently could; would you say you were occupied in that business 20 minutes?
A I think so because I did not look at the box when I first went up.
Q What did you do?
A I ate my pears.
Q Stood there eating the pears, doing nothing?
A I was looking out of the window.
Q Stood there looking out of the window, eating the pears?
A I should think so.
Q How many did you eat?
A Three, I think.
Q You were feeling better than you did in the morning?
A Better than I did the night before.
Q You were feeling better than you were in the morning?
A I felt better in the morning than I did the night before.
Q That is not what I asked you. You were then, when you were in that hay loft, looking out the window and eating three pears, feeling better, were you not, than you were in the morning when you could not eat any breakfast?
A I never eat any breakfast.
Q You did not answer my question and you will, if I have to put it all day. Were you then when you were eating those three pears in that hot loft, looking out that closed window, feeling better than you were in the morning when you ate no breakfast?
A I was feeling well enough to eat the pears.
Q Were you feeling better than you were in the morning?
A I don't think I felt very sick in the morning, only Yes, I don't know but I did feel better. As I say, I don't know whether I ate any breakfast or not or whether I ate a cookie.
Q Were you then feeling better than you did in the morning?
A I don't know how to answer you because I told you I felt better in the morning anyway.
Q Do you understand my question? My question is whether, when you were in the loft of that barn, you were feeling better than you were in the morning when you got up?
A No, I felt about the same.
Q Were you feeling better than you were when you told your mother you did not care for any dinner?
A No sir, I felt about the same.
Q Well enough to eat pears, but not well enough to eat anything for dinner?
A She asked me if I wanted any meat.
Q I ask you why you should select that place, which was the only place which would put you out of sight of the house, to eat those three pears in?
A I cannot tell you any reason.
Q You observe that fact, do you not? You have put yourself in the only place perhaps, where it would be impossible for you to see a person going into the house?
A Yes sir, I should have seen them from the front window.
Q From anywhere in the yard?
A No sir, not unless from the end of the barn.
Q Ordinarily in the yard you could see them and in the kitchen where you had been, you could have seen them?
A I don't think I understand.
Q When you were in the kitchen, you could see persons who came in at the back door?
A Yes sir.
Q When you were in the yard, unless you went around the corner of the house, you could see them come in at the back door?
A No sir, not unless I was at the corner of the barn. The minute I turned, I could not.
Q What was there?
A A little jog, like. The walk turns.
Q I ask you again to explain to me why you took those pears from the pear tree?
A I did not take them from the pear tree.
Q From the ground, wherever you took them from. I thank you for correcting me. Going into the barn, going upstairs into the hottest place in the barn, in the rear of the barn, the hottest place, and there standing and eating those pears that morning?
A I beg your pardon. I was not in the rear of the barn. I was in the other end of the barn that faced the street.
Q Where you could see anyone coming into the house?
A Yes sir.
Q Did you not tell me you could not?
A Before I went into the barn---at the jog on the outside.
Q You now say when you were eating the pears, you could see the back door?
A Yes sir.
Q So nobody could come in at that time without your seeing them?
A I don't see how they could.
Q After you got done eating your pears, you began your search?
A Yes sir.
Q Then you did not see into the house?
A No sir, because the bench is at the other end.
Q Now, I have asked you over and over again, and will continue the inquiry, whether anything you did at the bench would occupy more than three minutes?
A Yes, I think it would because I pulled over quite a lot of boards in looking.
Q To get at the box?
A Yes sir.
Q Taking all that, what is the amount of time you think you occupied in looking for that piece of lead which you did not find?
A Well, I should think perhaps I was 10 minutes.
Q Looking over those old things?
A Yes sir, on the bench.
Q Now can you explain why you were 10 minutes doing it?
A No, only that I can't do anything in a minute.
Q When you came down from the barn, what did you do then?
A Came into the kitchen.
Q What did you do then?
A I went into the dining room and laid down my hat.
Q What did you do then?
A Opened the sitting room door and went into the sitting room; or pushed it open. It was not latched.
Q What did you do then?
A I found my father and rushed to the foot of the stairs.
Q What were you going into the sitting room for?
A To go upstairs.
Q What for?
A To sit down.
Q What had become of the ironing?
A The fire had gone out.
Q I thought you went out because the fire was not hot enough to heat the flats.
A I thought it would burn, but the fire had not caught from the few sparks.
Q So you gave up the ironing and was going upstairs?
A Yes sir, I thought I would wait till Maggie got dinner and heat the flats again.
Q When you saw your father, where was he?
A On the sofa.
Q What was his position?
A Lying down.

continued here: ... quest.html

(edit) oops.. wrong word.....the above is inquest testimony not trial testimony as Lizzie never was questioned during the trial (and her inquest testimony was deemed inadmissible in the trial).

There are discrepancies, inaccuracies and hokey dramatizations in the first half of the below video but it is filmed in the Borden house which has been turned into a Bed and Breakfast. :?

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Inquest excerpt (not trial) from District Attorney for pro-prosecution closing argument.

The Commonwealth advances no statements as to probable guilt. Your Honour's duty is before you. Let us go back to the pictures. They are before you. Such was the scene presented four weeks ago this morning. What are they? One is a man retired from business, of simple and frugal habits, and as far as we know without an enemy in the world. If there was some friction between him and his wife's relatives, that domestic and honourable lady was absolutely without harsh feelings on the part of the world, yet she was murdered, and there was a hand that dealt those blows, and a brain that directed them.

There was not a man, woman or child in the world of whom we could not have said, they would have done it. But it was done. The presumption that some enemy killed him and then her, for I presume that Your Honour will prefer the evidence of the chemist, Prof Wood, rather than the story of a Medical Examiner who has not examined the stomachs, is that Mrs. Borden was dead fully an hour and a half before the murder of Mr. Borden.

Who could have done it? As an eminent attorney once said, there is no motive for murder. There is a reason for it, but no motive. I never in all my experience saw a man so utterly low as to believe him guilty of such a deed. But it was done. By what? Obviously a hatchet. The blows were struck from behind. It was the act of a physical, if not moral coward. It was the act of a person who, while willing to murder, was not willing to let the murdered see who was doing it. As you listened to the descriptions of the blows, you are convinced of the fact that no man could have struck them.

You are struck with the thought that it was an irresolute, imperfect feminine hand that could strike, and yet not with the strike of a man, and we do not know who did it. It was not the result of spite as first thought, but the blows were fast, swift blows of someone who had a reason for doing it. The first obvious inquiry is, who is benefitted from that removal. God forbid I should impute that motive, but what have we before us? I don't know what was the cause of it. I have discovered the fact that she has repudiated the relation of mother and daughter.

I once knew two boys who in growing to be men discovered that their father had committed a crime and called him Mr., but I never heard of another case of that sort. We've got the terrible fact. She has repudiated the name of the mother. Has Your Honour, as I have, ever learned that no more rising hatred ever springs up than between step-parents and their children? We have seen that he didn't provide the house with gas, that he hadn't in the house what those daughters very much wanted, a bath tub, and that they quarrelled about property.

Do you suppose that was sufficient motive? I grant that that is not an adequate motive for killing her. But I have found the only person in the world with whom she was not in accord. Let us look around and it cannot be imagined how anyone got in or out. I listened to the eloquent remarks of my brother and failed to hear him tell how anybody could have got in there, remained an hour and a half, killed the two people and then have gone out without being observed.

Doors locked and windows closed. Here was a house with the front door locked, the windows closed, the cellar door locked and the screen door closed, with somebody on guard in the kitchen. Nay, Mr. Borden locked the barn every night, and you can't go from one part of the house to the other without keys. That makes us begin to think. Of course, this is negative evidence. Of course it is neither sufficient, reliable or conclusive, but all evidence is made up of circumstances of more or less weight.

Yet from this house, on a main street, near the centre of a city, passed by hundreds of people daily, no man could depart without being seen. And that isn't the most difficult part of it. I can't devise any way by which anybody could have avoided the locks. Tell me not about the barn which Mr. Borden always locked himself; the front door was locked when Mr. Borden came in; there was not a hiding place when they came in; they could not get upstairs to the front of the house by the back way; they must be seen passing through the house; and I haven't dwelt on the chances of anybody escaping the notice of these five people and the refusal of the human mind to accept such a possibility.

I can conceive of a villain. I can't conceive of the villain who did this; and I can't also conceive of a villain who is a fool. All the movements of this family must have been known, and so the mind, not the mind that is actuated by sympathy and which I understand but cannot follow, because I am sworn to my duty, but the impartial mind looks toward the house.

There has been no idle or unjust suspicion. It was natural that suspicion should be directed toward the inmates of that house. Morse is out of the way and then comes the servant girl, perhaps the next one thought of, between one class and another. When I came to Fall River I knew no difference between honest and reputable Lizzie Borden and honest and reputable Bridget Sullivan, and so Bridget Sullivan was brought here to what my learned friend calls a star chamber inquiry, and was questioned as closely and minutely as any other member of the family. The innocent do not need fear questioning.

In all my twenty-five years experience will my learned brother say that he ever heard or knew me to treat a female witness discourteously. She sitting in one chair and the inquirer in another, presumably as innocent as anybody; and yet fault is found that she is suspected that she answers questions two ways. I'm going to assume that Your Honour believes Bridget Sullivan has told the exact truth. What took place, Bridget Sullivan? Mr. Morse went off that morning and left Lizzie in the kitchen alone. The only time when Mrs. Borden could have been killed.

Mrs. Borden told her to wash windows and she goes out to do it. Lizzie didn't go up the back way because she couldn't get up that way. In the lower part of the house there was no person left and Lizzie and her (step) mother were upstairs. Then Lizzie comes to the screen door. Mr. Borden was then alive. Mrs. Churchill saw Mr. Borden go off and then saw Bridget washing windows. Then the hatchet was driven into the brain of Mrs. Borden. Many a man has been convicted because he alone could have committed a crime. Maggie (ie. Bridget) finishes her work, and then, until Mr. Borden comes in, Lizzie and Mrs. Borden are alone upstairs, and this is not all; Mr. Borden comes to the front door.

I don't care to comment on Lizzie's laughter at Bridget's exclamation, but Lizzie was where, if Mrs. Borden fell to the floor, she could not have been twenty feet away from her, and where, if the old lady made any noise, she could have heard it. Then Lizzie comes downstairs and commences to iron. Bridget leaves her alone with her father. Less than fifteen minutes later the death of Mr. Borden takes place.

She could have but one alibi, she could not be down stairs; she could not be anywhere except where she could not see any person come from the house. It is now more difficult in the cool of September than it was at the inquest, to imagine the improbability of the story told by Ms. Lizzie. Where he was she can't tell; where he came from she didn't know; where was she between the hours of nine and ten, when her mother was killed; whatever else I may not say of Lizzie Borden, I will say for one to even suggest that from the time she found her father dead she was not in full control of her faculties, is to confess that they do not know the facts.

She has not shed a tear, and it is idle for anyone to say she has been confused or dazed. I ask her where she was when her father came back, and we get this story: "I was down in the kitchen." That's the kind of thumbscrew I apply, and it was a most vital thing. Almost a moment after. "Where were you when the bell rung?" "I think I was upstairs in my room." "Were you upstairs when you heard the bell?" No thinking now, no daze: "I think I was on the steps coming down."

Isn't it singular, isn't it a vital thing that on this most important subject she should not tell the same story upon two pages of the testimony. I prefer to take the story of one who gives the same answer twice, for I am not affected by the heat and the turmoil which surrounds this case, and for which I have no hard feelings towards anybody.

Then I asked her: "What were you doing when your father was out?" and she said she was waiting for the irons to heat. Unsatisfactory explanations: Isn't it singular that I cannot get a satisfactory explanation as to how she spent the hour and fifteen minutes while her father was out and her mother was being killed upstairs. Finally she says, after urging twice, she saw him take off his slippers, when the photographs show he did not take off his boots, and after speaking to her father she tells him that she thinks her mother has gone out; and then she tells us that she went out to the barn.

And when we asked her "where was your mother?" She answers "she is not my mother, but my step-mother" and her bosom friend Miss. Russell, is compelled to fix her window. She then tells Mr. Bowen it was to get a piece of iron; then she tells the story of the fish line and the sinker. I say to her, "Where did you spend twenty minutes or half an hour on that hot morning?" She says she went to fix a curtain at the west end of the barn and ate pears there. Let me say I never saw an alibi labor as this one does; you can see by reading that testimony how she was away from home during questioning. She was going to that barn on the hottest of days to get something unnecessary.

I don't say this is enough to convict her, but with Bridget's story that she had been where she could have committed the crime, there is something to challenge our credulity. Relation of mother and daughter. There is so little in common between the mother and daughter that it was to Bridget the mother gave notice of her intended movement, and not to the daughter.

We have it from Lizzie that her mother received a note from sick friends. Who sent it? Where did it come from? It did not come in the screen door, because Bridget was in the kitchen. Mr. Borden knew nothing about it. Lizzie says she told him. Some laughter was heard when a witness said a reporter was found sitting on the steps when the first officer arrived. I am not one who joined in that laughter, for the reporter in this case represents the anxious and agonized public, who wish to know any fact in this matter and every point of evidence, true or false.

If there was any person in the world who wrote that note would he not in the interest of humanity come forward. It's not an easy thing to say, but it is one of those things that, when a matter becomes public property, cannot be concealed.

Nobody Your Honour, has said this family was poisoned with prussic acid. All that the Commonwealth says is that this was the first proposition. I intended to say at the outset that the crime was done as a matter of deliberate preparation. Those young men recognized her not by her voice, but recognized her and her voice. Is there any different point of view in Lizzie Borden from any other person who is accused of crime.

We find here the suggestion of a motive that speaks volumes. The druggist told her plainly that she couldn't have it. Then how could this thing be done? not by the pistol, not by the knife, not by arsenical poisoning. There was but one way of removing that woman, and that was to attack her from behind. That is a dreadful thing. It makes one's heart bleed to think of it. But it is done.

I'd rather resign my office than deal with it, but I will not flee from duty. I haven't alluded to and I think I will not comment upon the demeanor of the defendant. It is certainly singular. While everybody is dazed there is but one person who, throughout the whole business, has not been seen to express emotion. This somewhat removes from our minds the horror of the thing that we naturally come to. Atrocious and wicked crime is laid at the door of some women. The great poet makes murderesses, and I am somewhat relieved that these facts do not point to a woman who expressed any feminine feeling.

When Fleet came there she was annoyed that anyone should want to search her room for the murderer of her father and step-mother. I know there are things that we have not explained. It has been a source of immense disappointment that we have not been able to find the apron with which she must have covered her dress, and which must contain blood, just as surely as did the shoes. It is a source of regret that we have not been able to find the packet, but she had fifteen minutes in which to conceal it.

This is not a crime of a moment. It was conceived in the head of a cunning, cool woman, and well has she concealed these things. If Your Honour yielded to the applause which spontaneously greeted the close of the remarks of my earnest, passionate brother, if Your Honour could but yield to the loyalty of his feelings, we would all be proud of it, and would be pleased to hear him say: "We will not let this woman go." But that would be but temporary satisfaction.

We are constrained to find that she has been dealing in poisonous things; that her story is absurd, and that hers and hers alone has been the opportunity for the commission of the crime. Yielding to clamor is not to be compared to that only and greatest satisfaction of a duty well done."

(finishing quote at page 139) ... erTrag.pdf

It's impossible to find footage of the Borden House, the inside and outside layout from a criminal case point of view, without all the psychic stuff, special effects and disrespectful joking (like the above video I posted just to show some of the inside of the house) .. added into it.

I don't see it as a joke, there was nothing funny about it, there were two brutal murders that took place, now it is an industry and a lot of it is in bad taste. It is pretty sad that it is pretty much impossible to find plain footage of the inside and outside of the house without people having an agenda to add into it, be it for stupid news items, monetary reasons or to promote their psychic shows that are done in bad taste as far as the Borden murders go.

The below video is the closest I could find to a plain video which is mostly photos, there are much better videos showing the layout of the house in detail inside but those include things such as Ouija board séances and the like that I think are dangerous to perform or promote. If their are any spirits in the house then no doubt they would be annoyed as well.

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Re: Lizzie Borden took an axe...

PostFri Dec 05, 2014 1:43 pm

Really interesting stuff, far too much for me to sit and read unfortunately, but I did skim through a lot and read parts that seemed interesting. That inquest testimony was kind of hilarious. I only read probably the first 1/4 or 1/3 of it but the way I imagine the investigator asking her the questions is just fast-paced, old timey, and humorous, mostly because he is asking her about fishing material for about 100 questions.

I'd never really looked into the Borden case before, I'd just always heard that myths and rumors surrounding it, mostly brought up on Ghost Shows that I find entertaining. Though I know she was pronounced innocent, the consensus has always seemed to be that she was actually guilty so I always kind of believed that was the case. After reading that bit of questioning from the trial where they were asking about the dress she burned (whcih seems an odd thing to do even if it was stained with paint) and how she wouldn't actually answer the question definitely made me think she was likely guilty in some fashion.

Great job on putting all this info together though Sarah.
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