The Life and Trial of Lizzie Borden: The History of 19th Century America's Most Famous Murder Case
Publisher: Charles River Editors
Date: December 2016
Duration: 1 hours 24 minutes
Today, cases are often referred to as the trial of the century, but few could lay claim in the 19th century like Lizzie Borden’s in the wake of her parents’ murders. After all, the story included the grisly axe murders of wealthy socialites and a young daughter as the prime suspect. As Trey Wyatt, author of The Life, Legend, and Mystery of Lizzie Borden, put it, “Women were held to strict standards and genteel women were pampered, while at the same time they were expected to behave within a strict code of conduct. In 1892, Fall River, Massachusetts wealthy society ladies were not guilty of murder, and if they did kill someone, it would not be with an axe.”
When questioned, Lizzie gave contradictory accounts to the police, which ultimately helped lead to her arrest and trial, but supporters claimed it may have been the effects of morphine that she had a prescription to take. Much like subsequent famous murder cases, such as the O.J. Simpson case or Leopold & Loeb, Lizzie Borden’s trial garnered national attention unlike just about anything that had come before. The case sparked Americans’ interest in legal proceedings, and as with Simpson, even an acquittal didn’t take the spotlight off the Borden case, which has been depicted in all forms of media ever since. Lizzie became a pariah among contemporaries who believed she’d escaped justice, and she remains the prime suspect, but the unsolved nature of the case has allowed other writers to advance other theories and point at other suspects.
The Life and Trial of Lizzie Borden: The History of 19th Century America’s Most Famous Murder Case looks at the personal background of the Borden family and the shocking true crime that captivated America at the end of the 19th century.