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Lizzie Borden

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.

Unfortunately for the anonymous poet of this American nursery rhyme, Lizzie Borden (June 9, 1860 - June 1, 1927) was acquitted of the charge of murder that is her only claim to fame. It also represents a gross overestimate in terms of whack-age.... but no matter, for Lizzie Andrew Borden will always remembered as the prime suspect in the murder of her father and step-mother.

On August 4, 1892, Lizzie and Bridget Sullivan, the maid of the household, discovered the corpses of Mr. Andrew J. Borden and Abby Gray Borden, Lizzie's father and his second wife. Both had been slain by multiple axe blows. The Bordens were one of the wealthiest and most prominent families of Fall River, Massachusetts

A circumstantial case against Lizzie was made, without any identification of a murder weapon or a motive, and no incriminating physical evidence such as bloodstained clothes. The case against Lizzie was based mostly on the testimony of a pharmacist that said that Lizzie had attempted to purchase prussic acid, a form of cyanide, and that a neighbour had seen her burning a dress.

Borden's trial occurred in June of 1893. It took two weeks, a quite long time for the period. On June 20, 1893, Lizzie was acquitted of the crime.

Later in life, Lizzie changed her name to Lizbeth and became somewhat eccentric. She died of complications from gall bladder surgery in 1927, at the age of sixty-eight.

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