Top 5 Bloody Lizzie Borden Facts

Written by George Pacheco We call Lizzie Borden a murderer, but technically she was an alleged murderer. Perhaps you know the famous skipping-rope rhyme rhyme about her giving forty whacks, or maybe you've visited Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, Massechusets, but how much do you know about this famous murder? And why are we still talking about it today? In this episode of Top 5 Facts' special series on famous murderers, we count down the most interesting facts about this creepy case.
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Written by George Pacheco

Top 5 Lizzie Borden Facts


Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one. You may know the rhyme, but can you separate the truth from fiction? Welcome to WatchMojo's Top 5 Facts, and our special series on famous murderers. For this list, we'll be counting down the most fascinating facts surrounding the 1892 murders of Borden family patriarch Andrew and his wife Abby, crimes long thought to be committed by the Borden's daughter Lizzie.

#5: Lizzie Had an Odd Alibi


Murder suspects usually try to have a story and stick to it, yet Lizzie's discussions with the police were nothing if not inconsistent and suspicious. She was home during both murders, yet claimed to not hear or see a thing. Abby Borden's murder took place around 9:30 a.m., at a time when Lizzie's sister Emma was out of town, family friend John Morse was visiting relatives, and Borden maid Bridget Sullivan was outside washing windows. An invading intruder would've had to have remained hidden for about ninety minutes in the Borden's relatively small house in order to butcher Andrew Borden undetected at approximately eleven a.m. Lizzie's alibi that she was in the barn loft during this time proved odd when visiting police uncovered no footprints, and also found the unventilated area stiflingly hot; certainly unfit for a ninety minute stay.

#4: Andrew Borden's Death Wasn't that Surprising


Andrew Borden's frugality as a businessman was well documented in the family's home town of Fall River, Massachusetts. We've already mentioned that the Borden family home was small given Andrew's self-made fortune, but does anyone ever get rich without making their fair share of enemies along the way? The relationship between Andrew, Lizzie and Emma is also thought to have been complicated by the father's second marriage to Abby in 1865. The sisters reportedly prefered to refer to her as "Mrs. Borden," as opposed to "mother." Lizzie and Emma's status as unmarried women in their thirties also labeled them as "spinsters" during this era, which could've also increased tensions within the household. Still, this didn't stop the siblings from inheriting Andrew's fortune after his death, with Lizzie eventually becoming a somewhat infamous local celebrity after her trial.

#3: The Coroner Didn’t Write the Rhyme, Apparently


Speaking of the trial, the skulls of Abby and Andrew Borden made a shocking appearance in front of the Massachusetts jury, but their remains didn't feature the sort of axe wounds one might expect from Lizzie's infamous rhyme. Instead, the murder weapon was a likely small hatchet, used to deliver approximately nineteen blows to Abby, and ten or eleven to Mr. Borden. These blows were quite gruesome and forceful, however, severely damaging the father's head and face. This shocking violence caused quite a commotion in the crowd, as well as a swoon by Lizzie in court, although the accused did not take the stand in her own defense. Though, she didn’t need to! The jury of twelve men only deliberated for about ninety minutes before returning with a "not guilty" verdict.

#2: There Was a Distinct Lack of Evidence During the Trial


Criminal forensics such as fingerprinting were in their infancy during the time of the Borden murders. There was a lack of solid evidence connecting Lizzie to the murder, although her failed attempt to purchase poison from the local apothecary in the days prior to the murder did raise some eyebrows. The crime scene was also severely compromised from the get-go, as police and curious neighbors trampled all over the Borden home, corrupting anything which might have been considered useful. The only hatchet found on the Borden property was broken and clear of any stains,while a dress police were going to admit as evidence was conveniently burned by Lizzie prior to her trial. Lizzie's gender might have also played a role in her acquittal, as female murder suspects were practically unheard of around this time, especially gruesomely violent ones. Lizzie's defense attorney used this to his advantage, and referenced her upstanding reputation in the community as a way of circumventing a "guilty” verdict.

#1: You Can Stay at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast


The actual Borden home is still standing on Second Street in Fall River, and exists as an operating bed and breakfast dedicated to preserving the historical significance of the Lizzie Borden case for all who care to visit. The establishment is proudly staffed by experts on the case, complete with original artifacts and even gift shop DVDs and collectables. The place is usually booked solid during the Halloween season, as well as the anniversary of the murders, but is readily available at other times. The house has proven to be a popular spot for many aspiring ghost hunters and tourists coming through town, with some of the construction and materials inside dating back to Andrew's original design. Just don't be alarmed if you happen to hear footsteps in the hall, or the sound of a hatchet cutting through the night air...

So, do you think Lizzie Borden was guilty of her accused crime? Could you handle a stay at that bed & breakfast? For more staffed-by-experts top tens and enemies-along-the-way top fives, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com!
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