On November 30, 2004, I wrote about a familiar woman who may or may not have committed a couple of murders. What I didn't dive into were the other possible suspects and rumors.
The first theory does involve Lizzie. Some think that Lizzie was a lesbian and was having a secret relationship with Bridgette (the Borden's maid). It is believed that on the day of the murders Lizzie and Bridget were in bed together when Abby walked in on them. You think being gay is a controversial topic now. What do you think it was like back then? Lizzie and Abby get into an argument. Abby is horrified by the situation and calls her a monster. Lizzie picks up a candlestick holder and hits Abby over and over, killing her. Lizzie and Bridget cleans up the crime scene and wait for Andrew to come home. When he arrived, he noticed the candlestick holder. Knowing that didn't belong downstairs, he took it back to the room which is when he discovered Abby's body. He questioned Lizzie and Bridget about it until Lizzie decided to come clean with what happened. Andrew reacted similar to Abby and this time Lizzie retrieved a hatchet and killed him. Again, Bridget helped clean up the crime scene. When they were finished, Lizzie told Bridget to go about her daily duties and she sounded the alarm.
To add to the lesbian theory, Lizzie met an actress named Nance O'Neil in 1904 about seven years after she moved in with her sister. It is said that since their introduction the two were inseparable. Shortly after, Emma moved out allegedly because of an argument over their father's estate and the two sister stopped speaking with each other. Rumors say that Lizzie and Nance were lovers and Emma knew this and didn't approve. Could concealing her sexual identity be important enough to push Lizzie to murder? Incest and money were other possible motives as to why Lizzie could have killed them.
Author Arnold Brown thinks that the killer was William Borden, Andrew Borden's illegitimate and slightly retarded son. Not only does this theory consist of William committing the murders but it also states that Lizzie, Emma, John Morse, Dr. Bowen and Andrew Jennings helped conceal it. Why? The reason was to keep his illegitimate status a secret because if it got out, he would be able make a claim against the estate. Diaries of a man who use to work for him stated that William carried and often talked to a hatchet at all times.
How did he do it? Allegedly, William was making demands of his father who at the time was writing a new will. When Borden rejected him, William became angry. He first killed Mrs. Borden and then after hiding in the house with Lizzie’s knowledge, killed his father as well. Then he was either paid off or threatened (maybe even both) by the conspirators who decided that Lizzie would allow herself to be suspected and tried for the murders, knowing that she could always identify the real killer, should that be necessary. A theory favored by many. William Borden died in 1901.
Some think the Borden sisters and John Morse hired William A. Davis to kill the couple because of Andrew's will. Davis was to kill them by suffocation and Dr. Bowen, who was possibly in on it too, would come by and say they both died from natural causes. Unfortunately, something went wrong which meant the plan changed as well. The couple died as plan except Davis also hit them repeatedly with an axe to conceal it. John Morse was seen by a police officer mailing a letter to William A. Davis on the day of the murder. It is believed that Morse paid him half up front and was mailing him the other half.
I'm sure there are many others. I doubt this mystery will ever be solved. Although, I'm surprised the Springfield, Massachusetts law firm hasn't released the papers from Lizzie's defense. Maybe Lizzie was the killer or maybe they knew who the real killer was. Unless they change their minds and release the documents, we may never know about the events in 1892.
What theory do you stand behind in the Abby and Andrew Borden murder case?
Sources: Prairie Ghosts and Case Reopened (WE tv show)