FALL RIVER, MASSACHUSETTS — I lived in Fall River, Massachusetts for about six and-a-half years. It took me about five of them to realize that Lizzie Borden‘s family home was essentially just down the street from my residence. I visited on August 16, 2007 and took some pictures of the bedrooms where the grisly murders took place.
Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks;
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
According to Wikipedia
August 4, 1892
John Morse arrived in the evening of August 3 and slept in the guest room that night. After breakfast the next morning, at which Andrew, Abby, Lizzie, Morse and the Bordens’ maid Bridget “Maggie” Sullivan were present, Andrew and Morse went to the sitting room, where they chatted for nearly an hour. Morse left around 8:48 am to buy a pair of oxen and visit his niece in Fall River, planning to return to the Borden home for lunch at noon. Andrew left for his morning walk sometime after 9 am.
Although cleaning of the guest room was one of Lizzie’s and Emma’s regular chores, Abby went upstairs to it some time between 9:00 am and 10:30 am to make the bed. According to the forensic investigation, Abby was facing her killer at the time of the attack. She was first struck on the side of the head with a hatchet which cut her just above the ear, causing her to turn and fall face down on the floor, creating contusions on her nose and forehead. Her killer then struck her multiple times, delivering 17 more direct hits to the back of her head, killing her.
When Andrew returned at around 10:30 am, his key failed to open the door, so he knocked for attention. Sullivan went to unlock the door; finding it jammed, she uttered an expletive. She would later testify that she heard Lizzie laughing immediately after this; she did not see Lizzie, but stated that the laughter was coming from the top of the stairs. This was considered significant as Abby was already dead by this time, and her body would have been visible to anyone on the home’s second floor. Lizzie later denied being upstairs and testified that her father had asked her where Abby was, and she had replied that a messenger had delivered Abby a summons to visit a sick friend. Lizzie stated that she had then removed Andrew’s boots and helped him into his slippers before he lay down on the sofa for a nap (an anomaly contradicted by the crime scene photos, which show Andrew wearing boots). She then informed Bridget of a department store sale and permitted her to go, but Bridget felt unwell and went to take a nap in her bedroom instead.
Sullivan testified that she was in her third-floor room, resting from cleaning windows, when just before 11:10 am she heard Lizzie call from downstairs, “Maggie, come quick! Father’s dead. Somebody came in and killed him.. Andrew was slumped on a couch in the downstairs sitting room, struck 10 or 11 times with a hatchet-like weapon. One of his eyeballs had been split cleanly in two, suggesting that he had been asleep when attacked. His still-bleeding wounds suggested a very recent attack. Detectives estimated his death to have occurred at approximately 11:00 am.