Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lizzie Bordon Acquitted 1893

Lizzie Andrew Borden (July 19, 1860 – June 1, 1927) was a New England spinster who was the central figure in the hatchet murders of her father and stepmother on August 4, 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts in the United States. The murders, subsequent trial, and following trial by media became a cause célèbre. The fame of the incident has endured in American pop culture and criminology. Although Lizzie Borden was acquitted, no one else was ever arrested or tried, and she has remained notorious in American folklore. Dispute over the identity of the killer or killers continues to this day.

Despite incriminating circumstances, Lizzie Borden was acquitted on June 20, 1893 by a jury after an hour and a half's deliberation. The fact that no murder weapon was found and no blood evidence was noted just a few minutes after the second murder pointed to reasonable doubt. Her entire original inquest testimony was barred from the trial. Also excluded was testimony regarding her attempt to purchase prussic acid. Adding to the doubt was another axe murder in the area, perpetrated by José Correira, which took place shortly before the trial. While many details were similar, Correira was not in the country when the Borden murder took place. After the trial Borden and her sister moved to a new house called Maplecroft. In June 1905, the two argued over a party Lizzie gave for Nance O'Neil and a group of actors. Shortly after that, Emma moved out of the house, and Lizzie Borden began using the name "Lizbeth A. Borden."


Lizzie Borden died of pneumonia on June 1, 1927 in Fall River, Massachusetts. Borden's funeral details were not made public and only a few people attended her burial. Borden was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery under the name "Lizbeth Andrew Borden," her footstone reading "Lizbeth." Never married, Borden's will, probated on June 25, 1927, left $30,000 to the Fall River Animal Rescue League. She also left $500 in perpetual trust for the care of her father's grave. Nine days later, her estranged sister, Emma Lenora Borden (below) died from a fall in Newmarket, New Hampshire, on June 10, 1927.

The house on Second Street where the murders occurred is now a bed and breakfast. Maplecroft, the mansion Borden bought after her acquittal, on then-fashionable French Street in the "highlands" is privately owned, and only occasionally available for touring.

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