Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Little Murderess (Lizzie Borden)

Lizzie Andrew Borden (July 19, 1860 - June 1, 1927)


On August 4, 1892, Andrew and Abby Durfee Borden were brutally murdered by multiple blows from a hatchet inside their home in Fall River, Massachusetts. Lizzie Borden was arrested for the murders of her father and step-mother on August 11, 1892. She was brought to trial and acquitted of both murders on June 20, 1893. No one else was tried or arrested for the crimes.

Below are passages from the inquest testimony of Lizzie Borden. Borden was questioned by District Attorney Hosea Knowlton on August 9-11, 1892. If you'd like to read more, click here. I've included Lizzie Borden-inspired artwork created by a few of the many talented artists on Etsy. Please click on the links and visit their shops!


Q. How long was your father in the house before you found him killed?

A. I don't know exactly because I went out to the barn. I don't know what time he came home. I don't think he had been home more than 15 or 20 minutes. I am not sure.

Q. When you went out to the barn, where did you leave your father?

A. He had laid down on the living room lounge, taken off his shoes and put on his slippers and taken off his coat and put on the reefer. I asked him if he wanted the window left that way.

Q. Where did you leave him?

A. On the sofa.

Q. Was he asleep?

A. No sir.

Q. Was he reading?

A. No sir.

Q. What was the last thing you said to him?

A. I asked him if he wanted the window left that way. Then I went into the kitchen and from there to the barn.



Q. Whereabouts in the barn did you go?
A. Upstairs.

Q. To the second story of the barn?

A. Yes sir.

Q. How long did you remain there?

A. I don't know. Fifteen or 20 minutes.

Q. What doing?

A. Trying to find lead for a sinker.

Q. What made you think there would be lead for a sinker up there?

A. Because there was some there.



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. Do you know whether there was any blood on the skirt?

A. No sir.

Q. Assume that there was, do you know how it came there?

A. No sir.

Q. Have you any explanation of how it might come there?

A. No sir.

Q. Did you know there was any blood on the skirt you gave them?

A. No sir.

Q. Assume that there was. Can you give any explanation of how it came there on the dress skirt?

A. No sir.

Q. Have you offered any?

A. No sir.

Q. Have you said it came from flea bites?
A. On the petticoats, I said there was a flea bite. I said it might have been. You said you meant the dress skirt.



Q. Miss Borden, of course you appreciate the anxiety that everybody has to find the author of this tragedy, and the questions that I put to you have been in that direction. I now ask you if you can furnish any other fact, or give any other, even suspicion, that will assist the officers in any way in this matter.
A. About two weeks ago---.

Q. Was you going to tell the occurrence about the man that called at the house?

A. No sir. It was after my sister went away. I came home from Miss Russell's one night and as I came up, I always glanced towards the side door. As I came along by the carriage-way, I saw a shadow on the side steps. I did not stop walking, but I walked slower. Somebody ran down the steps, around the east end of the house. I thought it was a man because I saw no skirts and I was frightened, and, of course, I did not go around to see. I hurried in the front door as fast as I could and locked it.


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