Lizzie Borden

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Lizzie Borden - Case of Lizzie Borden The life and .times of...
Case of Lizzie Borden The life and .times of Lizzie Borden,, involving "'a double' murder which occurred 60 years ago, still is .a show-stopping show-stopping theme in;the annals of American crime and—paradoxically—of and—paradoxically—of entertainment. The ax killings of : Andrew Jackson Borden, fall sRiverf Mass., b»n> presMeY.i, and his second .wUe^Abby; look place on sultry AUg. 4, 1892. Lizzie -Andrew:" Borden, spinster- daughter- of Andrew, has been.dead a quarter of * century but her strange, never- explained personality continues continues to stimulate the imagination imagination of playwrights, novelists and choreographers. , Agnes DC Miltc, famed fashioner fashioner of balict. told of the tragedy ~ in a somber dance "Fall River'Lcgenci." exploring the psychological overtones of the affair by boiling down the motive to a stepmother-step- '' daughter conflict, f Six years after Lizzie's dc-ath, Lillian Gish played the role of "Effie Holdea? in a play called "Nine Pine^treeL" which took its basic plot from Oie murders. murders. Currently a feature of the Broadway hit <r \cwFaccs of 1952" is * song and'dance comedy routine on the same macabre theme. It's impossible to count how many other authors authors have derived inspiration from the killings. X The Borden murders undoubtedly undoubtedly are-the most fas-' cinating because they never were solved officially. Without exception, however, 2M .serious students of the case believe only one person could have committed, the crime. The late Edmund Pearson's "Trial of Lizzie Borden" still is the'definite work on the subject. subject. His conclusion: "When seven oY eight' items of circumstantial circumstantial evidence point at the guilt of one person, he's innocent, innocent, only in a detective story." He did not' attempt to pimlain T.!»Tlt> In Jr>rm<t of complexes complexes and frustrations. He WHS Hypnotized by the barbarity of the two slayings, committed in a 90-mlnute period of a life otherwise commonplace. Lizzie and her tribulations have been immortalized in American folklore'by some forgotten forgotten Massachusetts rhymster who tossed off this apparently deathless doggerel: "Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother 40 whacks, "And when she saw what she had done, she gave her father 4V." Basically, the affaire Borden was rather sordid. Fall River in 1892 was a manufacturing manufacturing town of 75,000. The Bordens were among a handful of Yankee families in the town. Andrew Bordec was a rich man. Borden's youngest child was born July 19, i«60. and christened christened Lizzie. Her mother died soon afterwards. When the little little girl was five. Andrew Borden married Abby Gray, a kindly woman in her late 30s. Borden was parsimonious and canny and his two daughters. daughters. Emma and Lizzie, 10 years the junior, apparently inherited these characteristics. Money— By Cynthia Lotvry particularly when . the girls thought they Were not getting as much as their stepmother— was the cause of severe family family dissension. The daughtets did not eat with their parents. They wcte all cartful about keeping doors locked. Early in August, odd things began occurring in the Borden household. During the night of Aug. 2, Mr.-and Mrs. Borden were seized with violent illness. illness. Xext morning Lizzie said she, too, had been ill. but not as violently. A doctor was called, and Mrs. Borden said she thought she and her husband husband had been poisoned. Lizzie called on R neighbor and sairt she thought someone was trying trying to poison the family and that "they" had broken into the Borden house recently. She hinted her father was' having trouble with some unidentified men. Later, a clerk in a near-by pharmacy told police Lizzie had come in some time before the murders and had tried to buy 10 cents worth of prussic acid to clean a sealskin cape. On the morning of the murders, murders, Mr. and Mrs. Borden and the of Borden's first wife, a house guest, had a 7 a.m. breakfast. Emma was out of the city visiting friends. At 9 a.m., Lizzie Lizzie came downstairs and had coffee. Borden left at 9:15 for hi? office. The maid. Pridget, had a sick headache, but started to wash windows. Eventually, Eventually, Mrs. Borden went upstairs, upstairs, spying she was going to put fresh pillow- slips on the guest room bed. In that room, death came to her, in the form of a rain of ax blows. At 10:45 a.m. Borden returned returned and Bridget let him in the triple-locked tfoor. It was a fiercely hot day. Bridget later said she heard Miss Lizzie Lizzie iaugtiiitg arm the sound came from the stairs landing. Lizzie told her father Mrs. Borden had gone out—"she had a note from somebody who is sick." Then Lizzie started to iron handkerchiefs in the dim'ns room and told Bridget there was a sale downtown. Bridget, however, went upstairs to rest her aching head. Twenty minutes later she heard Lizzie call: "Father's dead. Someone came in and killed him." When neighbors, a doctor and others had gathered, Lizzie Lizzie explained she had been in the yard, heard a groan and found him. He had been killed as he napped on a sofa in the sitting room. Soon afterwards, Mrs. Borden's body was discovered. discovered. The murderer had struck a total of 29 blows and the doctor said he believed an ax was the instrument of death. At the inquest. Lizzie told a strange, contradictory story, and said she was in the barn Joft—looking for sinkers for a fish line—gt the time of the murder?. She was arrested after the inquest and indicted for the double murders. Her evidence at the hearing was excluded from the trial on the grounds— heatedly attacked by law scholars lat^r—that she was practically under arrest when .the evidence was given and therefore deprived of her constitutional constitutional rights. One thing puzzled the authprities: authprities: How it was possible for Lizzie io nave cutuiiulied two particularly gory killings and have no evidence of blood on her clothing. A neighbor related that the Sunday after the murders Miss Lizzie stood at the stove, ready to burn an old dress which she carefully explained was covered covered with paint. Xo ax was found on the premises, but three hatchets were. Two of them received a clean bill of health, but the third had a broken handle and was covered covered with ashes. That led to a theory it had been washed of bloodstains and then rubbed in ashes. The case flashed to notional prominence. Everyone look violent sides. The press came from all over the nation to cover the trial. Lizzie did not testify. She swooned twice, but on the last day of the trial she arose to say: "I am innocent I leave it to my counsel to speak for me." The prosecution's case collapsed collapsed when almost all circumstantial circumstantial evidfnce was barred, as well as testimony concerning concerning her attempted purchase of prusfic acid and her'earlier testimony. On ihc «pot sketch of Bordcn trial. THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

Clipped from
  1. The Salt Lake Tribune,
  2. 03 Aug 1952, Sun,
  3. Page 30

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