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Autor: anton • December 3, 2010 • 863 Words (4 Pages) • 755 Views
Possibly one of the oldest and most notorious murder trials in history is that of
Lizzie Andrew Borden. Lizzie was accused of and went to trial for the gruesome murders of her father and stepmother Andrew and Abby Borden. The Bordens were allegedly killed by Lizzie with an axe on the morning of August 4, 1892. Perhaps, what was so intriguing about the case were the media fascination and the fact that Lizzie was eventually acquitted. After all it was hard for citizens of Fall River, Massachusetts to believe that a proper and well-to-do woman such as Lizzie could commit such a crime.
On the morning of August 4, 1892 Lizzie Borden frantically called for her maid Maggie to come down to their sitting room. It was there that the body of Andrew Borden was discovered. His wife Abby was later discovered dead in an upstairs bedroom. Lizzie claimed to be in the yard when the murders took place, but police suspected otherwise.
News of the murders spread like wildfire. Stories about the Bordens tragic deaths were printed in newspapers within hours. Citizens of Fall River were in an uproar and no one felt safe. It was soon alleged by a local Pharmacist that Lizzie had attempted to purchase prussic acid, a poisonous colorless acid just the day before. With these new allegations of a pre-meditated attempt at murder, suspicions arose and the case against Lizzie was being built.
Lizzie's trial began on June 5, 1893 and lasted fourteen days. The Prosecution team was led by attorneys Hosea Knowlton and his assistant William Moody. They went on to present evidence such as Lizzie's attempt to purchase poison prior to the murders, a burned dress, her feelings toward her stepmother as well as her motive to inherit money from her father who at the time of his death had no will. But without direct evidence of Lizzie's part in the murder, the jury was not convinced of her guilt.
On June 19, 1893 closing arguments began and for the first and only time during the trial, Lizzie Borden spoke. "I am innocent. I leave it to my counsel to speak for me." After only a little over an hour of deliberations, the jury returned with a not guilty verdict and Lizzie was acquitted and released.
Over 100 years later, the enthrallment of this case has continued. It has been deemed the first nationally prominent murder case in the United States. Several books and many different theories and accounts of the events of that hot summer day in 1892 have been written. Perhaps the allure of the case stems from the unexpectedness or lack of explanation for a crime of this magnitude being committed by such a woman.
Criminal psychologists and experts have spent years trying to understand what causes individuals to commit crimes and what can be done to prevent it. Three main factors that are thought to play a role in criminal activity are economics or poverty, social environment and family structures. Childhood risk factors such as hyperactivity, family criminality, limited education and disrupted