Menstruation or murder? Did a suspect hide blood evidence in plain sight?
Now let’s unravel the mystery of this mind-blowing real-life event.
The Crime Scene
Here’s a look at what authorities found at the scene and that which transpired at her trial. “48 Hours” takes a new look at the situation Saturday, March 28 at 10/9c on CBS.
His daughter, Lizzie, stated she was outside in the barn when her father had been murdered.
Abby Borden’s body was found in the second-floor guest room of the Borden house on August 4, 1892. She is believed to have been killed first.
The Murder Weapon?
The”handleless hatchet” found in the basement was the suspected murder weapon.
Also in the basement was a bucket using bloody cloths, not envisioned. Lizzie maintained they were out of what she described as her time of the month.
Inside the Borden Home
The afternoon following Andrew and Abby’s funeral, Lizzie was spotted burning a dress in this kitchen. Lizzie said she burnt it because there was paint on it.
A girl resembling Lizzie Borden made an endeavor to buy prussic acid the day prior to the murders. The woman said she needed it to put an edge on a seal-skin cape. Prussic acid, a deadly poison that has been only available with a physician’s prescription and so the pharmacist refused to sell it to her.
The jury would not hear about this episode at trial.
After a police inquest, Lizzie Borden was arrested and charged with the murder of her father and stepmother on August 11, 1892
Lizzie on Trial
He had been struck 10 times.
The skull of Abby Borden. She was struck 19 times.
Lizzie Borden fainted through the trial once the prosecution showed the skulls of her dad and stepmother.
She didn’t testify and the words she talked in the court before the jury was billed were,”I am innocent. I leave it to my counsel to talk for me”
After a 3-week trial, this jury of 12 men found Lizzie Borden not guilty on June 20, 1893.
She moved to the house at the richer Hill District, where she’d always wished to live.
An Infamous instance
Although acquitted of the charges against her, the question of if Lizzie Borden committed the murders remains to this day.
It is a fact. A lot of men and women are squeamish when it comes to speaking about bodily functions like a woman’s monthly menstruation. So, did a youthful defendant make the most of the distress to eliminate two murders? Did she wash up a blood trail and place the evidence from the open, knowing that male investigators wouldn’t take a closer look? That may explain why a case that took place more than a century ago continues to baffle crime experts to the day.
On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie’s father Andrew Borden and her stepmother Abby were discovered murdered in the family home in Fall River, Massachusetts. They had both been bludgeoned to death with a sharp object, considered to be a hatchet.
Lizzie, 32, quickly became the main defendant, with both opportunity and motive. What’s more, while her older sister Emma was miles away visiting friends at the time of the murders, Lizzie Borden was in home without a credible alibi. The investigation revealed that over the afternoon before the murders, a girl identified as Lizzie allegedly tried to purchase prussic acid to repair, she said, a sealskin cape. A suspicious druggist refused to sell it.
The circumstantial evidence pointed to Lizzie. And where was the blood flow? Investigators were stumped by a lack of blood evidence linking Lizzie to the murders. Abby Borden, who had been murdered first in an upstairs bedroom, had been struck as many as 19 times.
Andrew, struck while sleeping on a couch, was hit multiple times in the head. If Lizzie had been the killer, wouldn’t she be coated in blood spatter? Wouldn’t she have left a trail of blood? A next-door neighbor, that came to the house shortly after Andrew died, saw no blood about Lizzie or her clothing. Two days following the murders, cops searched the house and found no blood-soaked clothing. The only blood discovered on Lizzie Borden was a very small speck on an underskirt.
In reality, evidence of a cleanup may have been in the front of the officers all along and they ignored it. When researchers searched the home, they struck what seemed to be bloody cloths or rags in a pail in the cellar. When Lizzie indicated that she was menstruating, a fact confirmed by the family physician, investigators took her at her word and moved on, never really analyzing the contents of the pail. Later, the family housekeeper, Bridget Sullivan — who’d done the family laundry earlier in the week — wondered why she had not seen that the pail at the moment, but it had been too late.
If, in fact, this pail contained evidence of a crime-scene cleanup, then the person who put those rags there had clearly planned the murders, gambling on the well-known man’s reluctance to deal with female physiological functions. It may have been a fantastic strategy which not only helped clear Lizzie Borden of murder, but abandoned us fascinated by a crime that will never be truly solved.
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