Discreet Woman on Trial in 1893
On the day of April fourth, 1892, a husband and wife were murdered with an axe in Fall Rivers, Massachusetts. With no witnesses to the murder, it is hard to find who the murderer of this case was. With some suspicion, circumstantial evidence, and inconsistent answers this case could have been overcome to figure out who the killer really is. Lizzie Borden, the Daughter of Andrew Jackson Borden, was accused of murdering her father and step-mother, Abby Durfee Gray Borden. Without any direct evidence, meaning evidence that can be shown and is not just inferred, pointing to Lizzie for this murder, she was found not guilty by the jury. This case came down to only the circumstantial evidence, meaning evidence that can be inferred, which in my eyes is enough to prove that Lizzie was indeed the murderer. With all of the odd happenings that in some way linked to Lizzie, this case should have ended with her behind bars. This trial lasted from June fifth to June twentieth of 1893 and still to this day this “miscarriage of justice” is looked upon as a great historical trial (Dershowitz 187). To this day people are convinced that Lizzie is the murderer of her father and her step-mother and that she got away clean with nothing but a little song written about her. “Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.” A look at the circumstantial evidence will show you, that Lizzie Borden is guilty of murdering her father and step-mother but “the sheer brutality of the murders was enough to convince most people that no woman could have been responsible for such crimes” (Hixson 8).
First of all, we will look at the Borden’s household. “The Borden’s household consists of Mr. and Mrs. Borden, Emma, who is Lizzie’s older sister, Lizzie, and the servant girl, Bridget Sullivan” (Aymar and Sagarin 178). “Bridget was referred to as Maggie by the two sisters and has been with the family for two years and nine months” (Aymar and Sagarin 178). Emma and Lizzie were considered “spinsters” seeing as they were both over the age of 30, were not married, and still living in the home of their father. (Knappman 204). Lizzie was said to be a very quiet woman that attended many church seminars. “After not completing high school, Lizzie joined a Women’s Christian Temperance Union at the Central Congregational Church” (Hixson 9). Lizzie and Emma’s real mother passed away when they were young, and only a couple years later their father was re-married to Abby Durfee Gray Borden. Apparently there was said to be some issues between Lizzie and Abby, her step-mother. Emma, the oldest sister, told the court room that the relationship in the house between Lizzie and Abby was “cordial” (Williams and Smithburn and Peterson 35). A relationship in a house between a daughter and a step-mother that have been living with each other for years now should be described in a more loving way than just the word “cordial” (Williams and Smithburn and Peterson 35). You can tell just from the way that sounds that there must have been some problems between those two women. “When ask in court about her mother, referring to Abby, Lizzie quickly replied “she is not my mother” (Aymar and Sagarin 179). This right here shows how Lizzie was not fond of her step-mother. Also, when Lizzie was asked the last time she spoke to Abby she stated it had been “about five years ago” (Williams and Smithburn and Peterson 66). How can you live with someone you have not talked to in about 5 years and say that it has been a “cordial” relationship (Williams and Smithburn and Peterson 35)? It does not make sense, just like all of Lizzie’s answers did not make sense. Clearly there were problems in the Borden’s home.
Next, I would like to bring up the inconsistency of Lizzie’s answers when she was questioned. Lizzie, when asked where she was at the time of the murders, could not give a straight answer....
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