Even when you know Lizzie was the killer, plenty of mystery remains in the Borden case. I speculate about each item below – but the answers remain elusive.
1. What were John Morse and Andrew talking about Wednesday night? Morse didn’t coincidentally stumble into a double homicide – his presence and Emma’s absence set the stage for murder. Did the mysterious negotiation between Borden and his brother-in-law provide the motive?
2. How did Lizzie avoid leaving a blood trail after Abby’s murder? She didn’t have to go far, but blood drops are hard to staunch. The lack of blood trail from the guest room eliminates anyone else from suspicion – Lizzie only had to walk 20 feet to the safety of her own room.
3. Was a note delivered to the Borden house on murder morning? There is nothing in the record about a messenger, yet the legend of the young man getting the front door slammed in his face persists. Was the intercepted note an irretrievable mistake that sparked the rage killing of Abby Borden?
4. What were the real contents of the note that Dr. Bowen burned? The good Doctor’s furtive reading and overt burning of the note about his “daughter” just doesn’t fly. Was this the note from #3? Too bad Fall River’s finest didn’t do a better job of protecting the crime scene.
5. Did Andrew have a will or was he having one made? Another persistent rumor that’s more than just a red herring – this is the most logical topic of discussion from #1. Why would John Morse not volunteer this information if he was assisting Andrew in dividing up his estate?
6. Was the handle-less hatchet the murder weapon? Robinson did a superb job of rendering it irrelevant at trial – when you consider that expert witnesses all agreed it fit the wounds, the wood break was new, and the coating of ash did not match the dust on the other items.
7. What did Alice Russell know about missing evidence? Her cryptic comments about the house search resonate – she told both Mrs. Churchill and Mrs. Kelly that police didn’t look thoroughly enough. She could have done her own search during the funeral – did she examine that “bundle” in Emma’s closet?
8. Did Lizzie act alone or did someone help her commit murder? A conspiracy is unlikely but can’t be ruled out – especially during Andrew’s murder. Bridget, Emma, Morse, Bowen all had either motive or opportunity. Lizzie certainly killed Abby – did someone else knock off the old man?
9. Why did Detective Shaw privately interview Lizzie in May? Conventional wisdom says he warned her about shoplifting, but could this meeting have a more sinister undertone? The daylight robbery? Something Lizzie did or said that was a harbinger of murder?
10. Why did Lizzie stay in a boarding house just before the murders? This was bizarre and scandalous behavior. Instead of going home from Marion she bunked at a New Bedford flop house for several days. She eventually was restless enough to return to Fall River on July 30th.