August 4th,  Borden Family,  Borden House Interiors,  Crime Scene,  If Walls Could Talk,  Murder Most Foul

Patrick Doherty

1896 photograph courtesy Fall River Police Dept.

Patrick Doherty arrived at the Borden house slightly after 11:30.  His observations about the crime scene in the guest room are worthy of note, especially his remarks on the blood of Abby Borden, which would give good indication that her death was considerably before the death of Andrew Borden. Doherty was in the thick of things that morning, first having a good look at Andrew Borden’s wounds:

“I noticed there was one wound down here, across the eye, that was very deep. It looked to me on the left side of the face, the right side was on the sofa, and the eye seemed to be knocked out, hanging by some thread or something. There was another wound came down by the nose, or down by the cheek bone, the cheek bone was open wide, by the cheek bone clear down to the neck was laid right open.” (Preliminary)

 Then Doherty followed Dr. Bowen upstairs to examine the body of Abby. Doherty moved the bed. His was the first examination, before the arrival of medical examiner, Dr. Dolan:

” I went to the foot of the bed; I looked at her. She was laying face downwards between the dressing case and the bed. I noticed three or four blood spots on the pillow sham, and a bunch of hair on the bed.

Q. How large a bunch?

A. Well, it was a small bunch.

Q. It was not a switch or false hair?

A. No, I think it was human hair that had been pulled out, or something, been cut out, or something.

Q. Give me some idea how much.

A. About half as big as that, I should think.

Q. On the bed?

A. On the bed. I wanted to examine the woman, but there was not room between the bed and dressing case to walk. I walked back to the foot of the bed, up around the north side of the bed, and I pulled it out about three feet, away from her.

Q. Towards the street?

A. No, pulled it against the north wall, away from her head.

Q. So to make the space between the bed and the dressing case, wider?

A. Yes. I pulled it away, and I went in, and I stooped down and I saw that she was lying in a pool of thick black blood, and her head was all cut.

Q. Face down, or back down?

A. Face down.

Q. How were her arms?

A. This way, something like that. I just put one finger here, and raised this a little bit so I could see under the hair around the ear better.”(Preliminary)

 Afterward, Doherty ran down Spring St. to place a call to the city marshal.  The telephone was in the undertaker’s shop which was opposite the Catholic Church (St. Mary’s). When Doherty returned to #92 Dr. Dolan was on the spot, and after speaking with the maid, Bridget Sullivan, Doherty enlisted Officer Mullaly in making a search of the house. The cellar door was locked, and rooms were searched with the exception of Emma’s room.

“Q. What did you find in your search?

A. We did not find anything.

Q. Were you one of those who assisted in finding the hatchets?

A. I was there when the officer had the hatchet; I did not find it.

Q. And the axes?

A. Yes sir.

Q. What officer had it when you first saw it?

A. Mr. Mullaly.

Q. You did not see where he got it?

A. I did not see where he got it. I saw him take it from a shelf about as high as his head.

Q. Did you make any examination of the hatchet yourself?

A. I just looked over his shoulder at it, that is, stood by his side and looked at it. ” (Preliminary)

Doherty also had an interview with Lizzie:

“A. I said “Miss Borden, where were you when your father was killed”? She said “I was in the barn”. I said “is there any Portuguese working on the farm over the River for your father?’ She said “no sir”.”Who works for your father?” She says “Mr. Eddy, and Mr. Johnson; and Mr. Eddy has been sick.” I asked her if either Mr. Eddy or Mr. Johnson were in town this morning, or up here to the house this morning. She said “no sir.” “Neither Mr. Eddy nor Mr. Johnson would hurt my father.”

Q. Anything more?

A. No Sir.

Q. Did she say anything about a noise, or hearing any noise?

A. Yes Sir. I asked her, I said “Miss Borden, did you hear any screams, or outcries”? She said “No sir. I heard some kind of a peculiar noise”. I says “can you describe the noise”? She says “no, not very well; something like scraping”. That is all the conversation I had with her.”(Preliminary)

 Doherty was also sent to inspect the properties surrounding the Borden house and went to examine the views from the Chagnon house behind the Borden barn.  Doherty would also give a good description of the dress Lizzie had on that morning as being a light blue background, a “challie” cotton print with a dark blue figure or spot on it, a description which is similar to that given by others.

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