August 4, 1892

Lizzie Borden's Father and Stepmother Murdered

Region:
Southeast

On this day in 1892, a prosperous banker and his wife were hacked to death with a hatchet in their Fall River home. Suspicion immediately focused on the man's unmarried 32-year-old daughter, Lizzie Borden. Basing their case entirely on circumstantial evidence, police indicted her for murder. Newspapers all over the country carried sensationalized, sometimes completely fabricated, stories. When she came to trial the following June, the nation was mesmerized by the spectacle of a Sunday-School-teaching maiden lady charged with committing such gruesome crimes. But the prosecution's case was badly flawed, and after a two-week trial, the jury found Lizzie Borden not guilty. She would never be free from suspicion, however, and lived the rest of her life as a social outcast.

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