Lizzie Borden took an axe… maybe


Ashley Huynh

Who is Lizzie Borden? The alleged murderess who beat her parents with an axe remains as one of the most infamous cases in American criminal history.

“Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.”

Most people have heard of Lizzie Borden, between television show references and nursery rhymes.

But does anyone know who Lizzie Borden is and what she had allegedly done? Along with Ted Bundy and Aileen Wuornos, Lizzie Borden is likely in the category of world-renowned killers, not for the kill count, but for how she allegedly murdered her victims.

Lizzie Andrew Borden was born on July 19, 1860 to Sarah and Anthony Borden. Growing up, she lived with her sister and brother in a relatively affluent neighborhood near her family. Growing up, her family was very religious, and Lizzie was involved in church activities and choir.

However, later in life, Lizzie’s mother died, and her father quickly remarried Abby Gray. Lizzie suspected Gray married her father for his wealth and not genuine love, and so envy grew between Lizzie and her stepmother and father.

Her father returned home one morning. Later that day, Lizzie claimed that she “found” him bludgeoned to death on the sofa and told a neighbor he had been killed. He was still warm. Upon further inspection, her stepmother was found upstairs, also brutally murdered. Lizzie claimed to have heard nothing, there was no blood found anywhere other than on the bodies, and no way into the house except locked doors.

Police later uncovered a pair of Lizzie’s undergarments with a spot of blood and a bucket of bloody rags in the basement. Lizzie said she was menstruating, and the male police force investigated that potential evidence no further. A handle-less hatchet was found in the basement, covered in ash, its handle freshly broken. This would prove to be the murder weapon. Lizzie also burned a dress that supposedly had paint on it the day after her father’s funeral.

After a two-week trial, Lizzie was acquitted of murder due to the lack of forensic evidence (based on the time period) and the idea that a woman would not be capable of such brutality, especially given that she was a Sunday school teacher at the local wealthy church.  But modern crime experts find little doubt that she was the only plausible suspect.

We may never have definitive answers, but it’s worth going down a Google wormhole to investigate for yourselves. Was Lizzie Borden guilty? Or did someone brutally murder her parents out of her earshot?

Hits : 1955