Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Lizzie Borden

August 5 through December

August 5

The next day Lizzie's uncle, Hiram Harrington, married to Andrew Borden's only sister, Luana Borden Harrington, had given an interview the day before to the Fall River Globe, which now appeared. He falsely stated that he had had an interview with his niece the evening before the evening of the day of the murders and that his niece had not shown any emotion or grief, "as she is not naturally emotional."

Sergeant Harrington no relation to Hiram found Eli Bence and interviewed him about the attempt to buy poison. Emma engaged Mr. Andrew Jennings as their attorney. The police continued to investigate, but nothing of significance was found. Fall River was in an uproar, and the newspapers, both in Fall River and the metropolitan areas, were obsessed with the killings.

August 6

Saturday was the day of the funerals for Andrew and Abby Borden. The service was conducted by the Reverends Buck and Judd, of the two competing Congregational churches. The burial, however, did not take place. At the gravesite, the police were informed that Dr. Wood wanted to conduct another autopsy. At this second autopsy, the heads of Andrew and Abby were removed from their bodies and defleshed. Plaster casts were made of the skulls. Andrew's skull, for some reason, was not returned to his coffin.

August 7

On Sunday morning, Miss Russell observed Lizzie burning a dress in the kitchen stove. She said, "If I were you, I wouldn't let anybody see me do that, Lizzie." Lizzie said it was a dress stained with paint, and was of no use. It was this testimony at the inquest that prompted Judge Blaisdell of the Second District Court to charge Lizzie with the murders.

August 9 through August 11

Lizzie Borden's police photo
Lizzie Borden's police photo

Judge Blaisdell conducted the inquest, the proceedings of which were kept secret. At its conclusion, Lizzie was charged with the murder of her father, and remanded to custody. Lizzie's only testimony during all of the legal proceedings was at the inquest. The next day, August 12, she was arraigned, and pleaded not guilty. She was held in Taunton Jail, which had facilities for female prisoners.

August 22 through August 28

The preliminary hearing was held before Judge Blaisdell. Lizzie did not testify, but the record of Lizzie's testimony at the secret inquest were entered by Jennings. Tearfully, Judge Blaisdell declared Lizzie's probable guilt and bound her over for the Grand Jury.

November 7 through December 2

The Grand Jury heard the case of Lizzie Borden during the last week of its session. Prosecutor Hosea Knowlton finished his presentation and surprisingly invited defense attorney Jennings to present a case for the defense. This was unheard of in Massachusetts. In effect, a trial was being conducted before the Grand Jury. It appeared for a time that the charge against Lizzie would be dismissed. Then, on December 1, Miss Russell testified about the burning of the dress. The next day, Lizzie was charged with three counts of murder. (Oddly, she had been charged with the murder of her father, the murder of her stepmother, and the murders of both of them.) The trial was set for June 5, 1893.

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