|1. If not Lizzie, then
who? Only Lizzie had a good opportunity to commit the
murders. At the time of her mother's murder (around 9:30 A.M.),
household guest John Morse was visiting relatives, sister Emma was out
of town, Andrew Borden was running errands around town, and maid
Bridget Sullivan was outside washing windows. Only Lizzie was
known to be in the house at the time of Abby Borden's murder. To commit
both murders (Andrew Borden was murdered around 11 A.M.), an outside
intruder would have either have had to hide in the house for 90
minutes or departed and then returned without being seen.
2. It looks like an inside job. Police found no signs of forced entry into the Borden home (despite the fact that the Borden's habitually locked their doors) and nothing appeared to have been stolen. No stranger was seen entering or leaving the Borden house on the morning of the murders.
3. Although Lizzie claimed to have been downstairs at the very time her mother was violently murdered upstairs, she said she heard no alarming noises--this despite her mother having been struck multiple times with an axe and falling to the floor.
4. On August 3, the day before the murders, witnesses identified Lizzie Borden as having visited Smith's drug store in Fall River, where she attempted to purchase a poison, prussic acid. She explained that she needed the acid to clean a sealskin cape. The druggist refused to sell the prussic acid.
5. On the night before the murders, Lizzie visited a neighbor, Alice Russell, and told her that she feared that some unidentified enemy of her father's might soon try to kill him.
6. Lizzie told police that while she was alone in the house with her mother on the morning of the murder, a messenger came to the door with a note summoning her mother to visit a sick friend. Lizzie told people that she assumed her mother had left. Despite a thorough search of the Borden home, no such alleged note ever was found.
7. When Bridget Sullivan came back inside after having finished washing outside windows, around 10:30 A.M., she reported hearing a muffled laugh coming from upstairs. She assumed that it was Lizzie making the noise. (Lizzie, of course, denied being upstairs during this time period between her mother's murder and her father's murder.)
8. At the time of the murder of Andrew Borden, Lizzie claimed to have been in the loft of the backyard barn for 15 to 20 minutes looking for lead sinkers for a fishing excursion. Police found the loft so stiflingly hot that it was difficult to believe anyone would voluntarily remain in such a place for as much as 20 minutes. They also found no footprints in the loft that could substantiate Lizzie's story.
9. Lizzie had a strained relationship with her step-mother. They usually ate their meals separately. Some theorize that Lizzie resented the fact that her father transferred a Falls River property to Abby's sister, rather than to her. Police noted that during her interview, Lizzie insisted that Abby be described as her "step-mother," not her mother.
10. Although Lizzie appeared to have a somewhat better relationship with her distant and forbidding father, there were problems there as well. Lizzie was outraged, for example, when her father beheaded pigeons in the barn loft for which she had built a roost. (Her father thought the pigeons attracted neighborhood boys, who broke into the barn to hunt the pigeons.)
11. In the week before the murders, following an apparent family argument, Lizzie and her sister Emma left Fall River by coach for New Bedford. When Lizzie returned, she chose to stay in a rooming house for four days, rather than in her own room in the family residence.
12. In 1891, cash and jewelry were stolen from the master bedroom in the Borden home. It was an open secret that Lizzie was suspected as having been the thief. Lizzie also had been accused by several local merchants of shoplifting. (Yes, murder is far different that stealing--but it does suggest that Lizzie was hardly a model daughter.)
13. Immediately after the discovery of her parents' bodies, Lizzie sent various persons who came to help off on various errands. It seems strange that a woman would choose to remain alone in a house if she thought a murderer still might be nearabouts on the loose.
14. On August 7, three days after the murders, Alice Russell observed Lizzie burning a blue corduroy dress in a kitchen fire. When asked about it, Lizzie explained that she chose to destroy the dress because it was stained with old paint.