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Today In History with The Retrospectors

So I Acquitted An Axe Murderer

Ep. 554

Lizzie Borden’s murder trial began on June 5, 1893 in New Bedford Courthouse, Massachusetts. The 32 year-old was accused of killing her father, wealthy magnate Andrew Borden, and his wife Abby, her stepmother, who had been crushed by the blows of a hatchet - 11 and 19 times, respectively.


In attendance were three judges, Borden’s high-powered defense team (paid for from her late father’s estate), and reporters and onlookers keen to parse the lurid details of the shocking deaths in the Borden homestead. But, despite there being no other suspects, Borden was acquitted.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain why Lizzie just *may* have innocently been purchasing poison; consider whether this was the case that first ignited the female interest in ‘true crime’ stories in America; and reveal what’s happened to the ‘Borden Murder House’ in the 21st century …


Content Warning: domestic violence, description of brutal murder scene.


Further Reading:

• ‘Why 19th-Century Axe Murderer Lizzie Borden Was Found Not Guilty’ (Smithsonian Magazine, 2019): https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/why-19th-century-axe-murderer-lizzie-borden-was-found-not-guilty-180972707/

• ‘Lizzie Borden case: Images from one of the most notorious crime scenes in history’ (CBS, 2021): https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/lizzie-borden-case-images-crime-scene/

• ‘48 Hours: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe’ (CBS, 2021): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYDiEcyDUBU


#Crime #1800s #US #Macabre


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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Sophie King.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2023.

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