July 19, 1860 – June 1, 1927
Did she or didn’t she? This is one of the questions that has haunted her memory and taken on legendary proportions since the murders happened to her father and stepmother, Andrew and Abby Borden, on August 4, 1892. Who committed those murders at 92 Second Street in Fall River, Massachusetts, has been one of America’s great mysteries and provided endless speculation ever since. Victorian sensibilities could not comprehend how a thirty-two year old, upper middle class woman could kill two family members in such a brutal and heartless manner. There were no witnesses to the crime and alibis were rampant among all those who could have possibly come in contact with Mr. and Mrs. Borden. With today’s advancements in investigative techniques and forensics these murders would have, most likely, been solved. But at the time when this tragic event occurred, there was no definitive way to ascertain who had committed the crime. So just as easy as it was to point the finger at Lizzie Borden, it was just as easy to state that it could not have possibly been her. She certainly never admitted to committing the dastardly deed and, after the jury found her innocent of the crime, no one was ever brought up on charges for it. So the question remains: Did Lizzie Borden get away with murder?
Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks.
And when she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
As the uniquely American rhyme goes, blame falls on the head of Lizzie. But we need to remember that the murder weapon was not an axe, it was a hatchet. A much smaller instrument, but apparently just as lethal. It was not her mother but her stepmother who was the first victim. And the amount of blows to the heads of Abby and Andrew were, approximately, twenty and ten respectively. But as the rhyme is wrong in many aspects, so maybe our 21st century judgment could be wrong also. The following article takes a look at Lizzie Borden through the perceptions seen by the press and presents another possible murder suspect. But as of today, one of America’s greatest murder mysteries is still unsolved.