Lizzie Borden may be among the most notorious and well-known suspected criminals who literally got away with murder; however, the case is still classified as unsolved. Tragically, Lizzie Borden’s claim to fame is that she may be forever immortalized for her suspected involvement in the murder of her father and her stepmother as depicted in the following verses:
Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks.
And when she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
In truth, Lizzie killed her stepmother, Abby Borden, with 18 strikes instead of the “40 whacks” mentioned in the previous verse. Lizzie’s wealthy banker father, Andrew Borden, was also subjected to extreme brutality though the popular phrase of “41 whacks” was in actuality no more than 11 forceful attacks. Andrew had a reputation for being stingy where many within the community of Fall River, Massachusetts, had contempt for the successful self-made bank president.
Lizzie Borden was noted for showing unusual behavior during the days surrounding the trial. Her infamous and dramatic swoon in the courtroom upon hearing revelations of the crime scene is still considered when discussing courtroom theatrics. Some of these revelations included gruesome details such as Andrew’s eyeball being sliced in half. The fate of Lizzie Borden was decided by a jury consisting of 12 men where the deliberations lasted for 90 minutes before the announcement of Lizzie Borden’s innocence was delivered to the courtroom.
According to the closing arguments made by George D. Robinson, who was part of the defense team representing Lizzie Borden, “… one of the most dastardly and diabolical crimes that was ever committed in Massachusetts… Who could have done such an act? In the quiet of the home, in the broad daylight of an August day, on the street of a popular city, with houses within a stone’s throw, nay, almost touching, who could have done it? Inspection of the victims discloses that Mrs. Borden had been slain by the use of some sharp and terrible instrument, inflicting upon her head eighteen blows, thirteen of them crushing through the skull; and below stairs, lying upon the sofa, was Mr. Borden’s dead and mutilated body, with eleven strokes upon the head, four of them crushing the skull.”
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