True Crime

  • Top 10 favorite posts

    Crime Scene-Andrew Borden  3,254

    New photo joins other “Lizzies” 2,892

    Lizzie’s leg o’ mutton sleeves 2,456

    Salem Witch? 2,264

    Haunted Happenings- ‘Tis the Season 1,844

    Somewhere in Time- A Cult Classic 1,825

    Victorian Fashion Links 1,428

    1890’s Fashionplates 1,418

    Companion Fall River Blogs 1,225

    Leg O’ Mutton Madness 1,031

    It’s always interesting to see where people like to go when they visit this blog.  Whether coming across us by accident, or googling another topic altogether, there are many non Lizzie-related posts which are in the top 10 all time “hits” for this blog.  Victorian fashion has its share of seekers as well as fans of the 1980 classic romantic film, Somewhere in Time.  Still, the most visited post is the crime scene of Andrew Borden, with its 360 degree pan of the sitting room.

  • Belle of Fall River

    Amherst, Mass.  may have its “Belle” a.k.a. Emily Dickinson, but if it’s October in Massachusetts, with Halloween just around the corner, Emily takes a back seat to Miz Lizzie. Stand by for a plethora of programs on the sharpest gal in town from the Discovery Channel, PBS and the Travel Channel.  Jeffrey Arrowood, an attorney and former police chief will appear on Discovery Channel’s “Ghost Lab,” acting as prosecutor in a trial scenario at 8 p.m. Oct. 28th.  The filming was done this past May at the house on Second Street.

    http://www.nwfdailynews.com/news/local-33950-attorney-ghosts.html

  • Lizzie Borden is Halloween’s New Pin-Up Girl

    As Halloween draws nearer every year, there seem to be more and more “Lizzie sightings”.  Whether in haunted corn mazes, horror theme attractions, Halloween costumes or a proliferation of Lizzie Borden-based plays- the little gal with the hatchet is everywhere from August right through to All Saints Day!

    The Discovery Channel has set the Ghost Lab show of the investigation of the Borden house for Oct 25th, with a preview on the 19th. The Travel Channel repeated its look at America’s Most Terrifying Places again this past weekend, Nance O’Neil is coming to a close this weekend in Manhattan and coming soon- a new play, Lizzie Borden Took An Axe, by Garrett Heater will be the debut production of a brand new theatre group.

    http://blog.syracuse.com/entertainment/2010/10/new_theater_company_stages_ori.html

    Stay tuned for all-new Lizzie & Family productions coming this Fall on the Discovery channel, a landmark book on Fall River and Lizzie coming from the Fall River Historical Society, and the Borden case documentary shot by Ric Rebelo this past spring will be airing Saturday, October 30th at 7pm on Rhode Island PBS– the day before Halloween.  And Sunday night, the 31st,  is ALWAYS a special night at #92 Second Street and is sold out a year in advance!

  • One for the Lizzie Bookshelf

    Web of Iniquity by Catherine Ross Nickerson

    Duke University Press, Feb. 1999

    Here’s one that may have slipped by unnoticed. It sells from $6- $131 dollars depending on where you hunt for it.  Amazon has the best deals.

    “Surveys detective fiction from the Civil War to World War II, describes how women writers created a form of domestic mystery that offered a critical view of the condition of women, and discusses works based on the Lizzie Borden case.”

    For more about the book and its author visit the Duke U. Press http://www.dukeupress.edu/Catalog/ViewProduct.php?productid=566&viewby=subject&categoryid=389&sort=author

  • Hatchets in the news today

    Hatchets:  Not just a Victorian weapon of choice.

    Elderly fruit vendor in Melbourne http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/man-jailed-for-killing-wife-of-50-years/story-e6frf7jx-1225914909320

    Australia:  76-yr-old man is sentenced in wife killing, 36 blows to the head

    http://manningham-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/keen-to-go-back-home/

    Breaking news in Nebraska:  Angela Mann’s murder trial http://www.ketv.com/r/25194981/detail.html

    Iowa’s Lucas Faulkner hatchet murder trial -Iowa http://www.kimt.com/content/localnews/story/Wright-County-Murder-Trial-Delayed/gnml05_swUqRun0BHzVWug.cspx

    California Death Row inmate Kevin Cooper waits for execution in 30 year old case  of four 1983  hatchet slayings http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/news/ci_16191554

    San Diego– Border Patrol agent Rivera on 10 million dollar bail awaiting trial for hatchet attack http://colorlines.com/archives/2010/09/as_border_patrol_expands_so_do_reports_of_misconduct.html

    Texas man wanted hatchet in homeless man slaying http://lubbockonline.com/crime-and-courts/2010-09-15/grand-jury-indicts-confessed-killer-homeless-stabbing

  • Lizzie Borden Rides Again

    Chances are you have not heard of the Garst Museum in Greenville, Ohio unless you are a fan of  Greenville- born world traveller and TV star Lowell Thomas whose adventures enthralled millions on radio and later television.  Or perhaps sharpshooter Annie Oakley, about whom the Garst has produced a world-class exhibit about her life. 

    As part of their autumn lecture series, another famous lady will be featured as subject of a one-woman show as Christy Igo takes on Lizzie Borden- no sharp-shooting pistol, but a hatchet just as deadly.

    (photo of Ms. Igo from http://www.lizzieborden.info/_wsn/page2.html)

    “Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 2:00 p.m., Christy Igo’s program “Lizzie Borden: A Life” is coming to the Garst. It is full of laughter, mystery, and horror as she brings  Lizzie Borden to life to tell HER STORY of the murder of her beloved  father and step mother. This crime is one of the bloodiest, most notorious and mysterious crimes of the 19th century!
    In 1892 Lizzie Borden was found NOT guilty by a jury of her peers. Most of the towns folk of Falls River, Massachusetts DISAGREED. The trial received worldwide media attention. Lizzie became a celebrity. The gruesome details played out in the daily newspapers.

    Did she or didn’t she? Modern law students still argue the case. You be the judge.
    Christy Igo trained at Ohio University’s Professional Actor Training Program as well as at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. She has worked professionally all over the North Eastern United States.  She has worked in film, commercials and documentaries. She formed HerStory productions in 1999 to produce and perform original one woman shows about inspirational women from history.

    The Garst Lecture Series are free to the public, thanks to a grant from the HOPE Foundation and the Harry D. Stephens Memorial Trust. This lecture may be more suitable for mature audiences. For more information please call 937-548-5250 or online at www.garstmuseum.org.”
  • Did you miss this one?

    (photo from Amazon.com)

    (photo from Amazon.com)

    Published in 2003 by Trina Robbins and Max Allan Collins, this one is still available on Kindle or paperback through Amazon.  It is a smorgasboard of ladykillers, thoughtfully organized under sections such as “They Did it For Love”,  “They Did it For Money”, “Bandit Queens and Gun Molls”, “Fabled Femmes Fatales”, ” and  “Shoots Like a Girl- Women Who Missed”,  here’s a cozy read for a cold autumn’s night! 

    For preview pages (some containing great cartoon graphics of Lizzie Borden with other femmes fatales), visit this Amazon link to preview and order now!

    http://www.amazon.com/Tender-Murderers-Women-Who-Kill/dp/1573248215/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1284516190&sr=1-1#reader_1573248215

  • Mississippi’s Lizzie Borden

    The Legs Murder Scandal

     

    Apparently the practice of chopping up bodies with sharp instruments can be found outside the city of Fall River.  A new book on another grisly murder is out, this time the ladykiller, Ouida Keeton could say, unlike Lizzie,  “She is not my stepmother- she is my mother!”

    Here is a blurb from the dustjacket:

    The Legs Murder Scandal
    by Hunter Cole
    Jackson: University Press of Mississippi (2010).
    First Edition. Signed. $30.00
    “In Laurel, Mississippi, in 1935, one daughter of a wealthy and troubled family stood accused of murdering her mother. On her testimony, authorities suspected an equally prominent and well-to-do businessman, her reputed lover, of assisting. Ouida Keeton apparently shot her mother, chopped her up, and disposed of most of her body parts down the toilet and in the fireplace, burning all but the pelvic region, the thighs, and the legs. Attempting to dispose of these remains on a narrow, one-lane, isolated road, Ouida left a trail of evidence that ended in her arrest. People had seen her driving to the road. Within hours, a hunter and his dogs found the cloth in which she had wrapped her mother’s legs.Touted as the most sensational crime in Mississippi history at the time, the Legs Murder of 1935 is almost entirely forgotten today. The controversial outcome, decided by an unsophisticated jury, has been left muddled by ambiguity. With “The Legs Murder Scandal, ” Hunter Cole presents an intricately detailed description of the separate trials of Ouida Keeton and W.M. Carter. Having researched trial transcripts, courthouse records, medical files, and vast newspaper coverage, the author reveals new facts previously distorted by hearsay, hushed reports, and misinformation. Cole pursues many unanswered questions such as what, really, did Ouida Keeton do with the rest of her mother? “The Legs Murder Scandal” attempts to provide the reader with clarity in this story, which is outlandish, harrowing, and intriguing, all at once.”

    Preview at http://www.amazon.com/Legs-Murder-Scandal-Hunter-Cole/dp/1604737220#reader_1604737220

  • Lizzie Borden & The Marion Connection

    As posted earlier:  The public is cordially invited to attend a presentation of “Lizzie Borden: The Mystery Continues,” sponsored by the Sippican Historical Society Thursday, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. at Marion’s Music Hall.

    The speaker will be Mr. Christopher Daley in a one hour retelling of the famous double homicide. Mr. Daley is a history teacher in the Silver Lake Regional School System in Kingston.  If you get to Marion earlier, there are many things to enjoy, not the least of which is the scenery.

    The Sippican Historical Society has a treasure trove of things to see including the Mary Celeste room,

    and many beautiful paintings and sketches by Charles Dana Gibson, creator of the Gibson Girl.

    It’s no wonder Lizzie wanted to go fishing in Marion with Dr. Handy’s cottage so close to the fishing pier.  The photo below is the site of Dr. Handy’s cottage, but not the original building.  The water is a moment’s walk away.

    Borden case prosecutor, Hosea Knowlton enjoyed a summer rental in Marion, died there and had his ashes scattered over water there. The photo below is of his summer rental house, shown with the Second St. Irregulars on Front St.

    Knowlton had built a beautiful summer home  in 1900, but sadly died before he could enjoy many summers in it, He died in 1902. It is now a dormitory for Tabor Academy.

  • Getting #92 ready for her close-up

    This year the house outside was pristine, having just had a new coat of paint. The tent was up for visitors to wait under , shielded from the hot sun, and lemonade and hatchet cookies were ready for refreshment.  Thanks go out this year to Debbie, Anna and Walter for keeping everyone cool and refreshed!

    Naturally any photographs on the wall inside which were not family photos were taken down.  Several crime scene photos were shown to visitors as “just having been developed and sent over by Mr. Walsh who was hired by the police department to shoot the crime scenes.”

    For the first time this year, inasmuch as “CSI” was in the title of this year’s adaptation, blood spatter was applied to the wall and doors in the sitting room. After trying several concoctions, cherry preserves was found to give the best effect.  John Morse mentions about 60 drops on the door into the parlor.  Emma Borden would wash these off later in the evening on the 4th.  Spatter was also applied to the framed engraving over the black sofa.  Most visitors made a note of this on their exit polls. (photos courtesy of Lee Ann Wilbur)

    This year the bed in the guest room where Abby Borden was killed was moved in order to reproduce the photo of Abby taken from the door way.  A blood-spattered coverlet and shams were on the bed as well as a tuft of hair.  More blood was used than on the genuine article which was on display down at the historical society in a special Bordenalia exhibit.

    It is remarkable that the crime scene still exists after so many years, so everyone who visits is very forgiving of modern conveniences such as electric sockets, lamps, refrigerators, etc, and turns a blind eye to these minor things which distract from time travel to 1892.

    The dress worn by Elizabeth Montgomery in The Legend of Lizzie Borden, and other clothing items usually on display were put in the upstairs bathroom, which at one time was actually a dress closet.  Down in the cellar, the search for hatchets and other possible weapons, conducted by Detective Seaver, gave a glimpse to visitors of just where these items were found, and offers a visit to the Borden cellar, always a place guests wish to see.

    Using a detailed sketch of the rooms done by Kiernan in 1892 as reference, Lizzie’s fainting couch was placed where it had been, between the two windows. Lizzie lounged with her pink and white wrapper with cherry ribbons which Officer Harrington would later describe in such detail that it brought a smile from Lizzie in court.

    With so many period antiques in place in the house, dressing the house for a performance is easy.  The two crime scenes are particularly accurate in furnishings, and most guests take note of this as they examine the 1892 photographs.  With just a little imagination, it is not hard to go back in time and visualize how the rooms must have looked.  At 9:30 and 11 a.m., a hush always falls on the house as cast and guests recall what was happening so many years ago.

  • Got more Lizzie?

    Dr. Handy’s cottage, Lizzie’s Marion fishing destination (courtesy of Sippican Historical Society).

    If you were busy elsewhere on August 4th and missed  the Lizzie tizzy of activities in Fall River, you can still catch a program on the famous case in Marion, MA. on August 19th at 7 p.m. Marion, the charming little fishing town where Lizzie had planned to try her famous line and sinkers, has a program in the old music hall which should keep the case followers delighted in August. http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100805/PUB01/8050377

  • Cast for Annual Presentation at Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum

    Some of the cast will be appearing at the Fall River Public Library on Tuesday, August 3rd at 6:30 for a special reading by Richard Behrens from the new Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective!  Tickets are presently on sale at the museum 508-675-7333.  Advanced ticket purchase is suggested to avoid disappointment on the 4th.  Tickets are usually sold out by noon. First performance at 10: 30 a.m.

    Cast interviews and photos may be found at http://pearessentialproductions.org/

    Lizzie Borden:  Lorraine Gregoire

    Detective Seaver  Ben Rose

    Abby Borden:   Shelley Dziedzic 

    Andrew Borden: Logan Livesey

    Bridget Sullivan  Kathleen Troost-Cramer

    Emma Borden:  Barbara Morrissey

    Addie Churchill:  JoAnne Giovino

    Alice Russell:     Kristin Pepe

    Uncle John:  Joe Radza

    Officer Medley:   Justin Dunne

    Miss Manning from the Herald:   Molly O’Brien

    “Cub reporter and Girl Detective” from the Herald, and Miss Manning’s assistant: Kathryn Woods

    The Distinguished Undertaker Winward:  Michael Brooks

    Officer Harrington:  Will Clawson

    Marshal Hilliard;  Ray Mitchell

  • A Farewell in New Bedford

    This week will mark the end of criminal cases tried at the historic New Bedford Superior Court House at 441 County Street, the venue for the famous 1893 trial of Lizzie Borden.  Only civil cases will be heard now at the New Bedford site. Amazingly the old court room where the Borden trial took place has remained, for the most part, the same as it looked in 1893. 

    The new Fall River Justice Center on Second Street, will assume the task of trying criminal cases.  One wonders if the 1892 crime happened today- might Lizzie try for “house arrest” and remain in her house across the street from the new court house wearing an ankle device!

    http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100622/NEWS/6220308

  • Lizzie News Round-up

    On May 27th papers in the United Kingdom posted news that Stephen Griffiths of Bradford, North Yorkshire would be charged with the homicides of three women. ” ‘I have decided that there is sufficient evidence to charge Stephen Griffiths with their murders, and that it is in the public interest to do so,” ‘ said Peter Mann, head of the Crown Prosecution Service complex casework unit in the West Yorkshire. ” Body parts recently found in a local river are being examined to try and establish if they are from the bodies of the three women.  

    For the last six years Griffiths had been studying at Bradford University for a doctorate in criminology. His thesis was to have been about 19th-century murders. On his Amazon.com wishlist was  Goodbye Lizzie Borden: the Story of the Trial of America’s Most Famous Murderess. For more on the story http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/may/27/bradford-murders-man-charged

    For those who remember the film, could That House made so famous be a candidate for a B&B?  Read all about what the Lizzie Borden B&B has to say about it. http://www.flashnews.com/news/wfn03100527fn19014.html

    The new court house across the street is preparing to open in June, #92 should get its new Rhino Shield paint color applied this week, and rumor has it that the house on Second Street may receive a call from a very special guest soon. 

    New England Bites bloggers Laura and Diane ( a Mom and Daughter team) paid a visit to Second Street and had a great write-up with photos on their visit.  The Fall River natives also give great tips on where to eat in the Fall River area.  http://www.newenglandbites.com/2010/05/may-2010-vacation-goin-out-with-bang.html

    For a to-die-for photo of Nance O’Neil and some interesting back story on The Legend of Lizzie Borden with Elizabeth Montgomery check this out http://www.filmsinreview.com/2010/05/18/camp-david-may-2010-gettin-lizzie-with-it/

    And of course the month started with a bang with the publicizing of that Lizzie note found in a Massachusetts museum in Brighton –http://www.heraldnews.com/news/x2084248292/Local-historian-deciphers-letter-penned-by-Lizzie-Borden  And it isn’t even AUGUST yet!!

  • Second Street Irregulars Visit the FRPD

    http://www.frpd.org/history.html

    The annual Mutton Eaters weekend in Fall River 2010  is now just a good memory.  The armchair sleuth group had a jam-packed weekend visiting Lizzie Borden-related sites for three days, beginning with a stop early Friday morning at the Fall River Police Department on Pleasant Street.  Deputy Chief Moniz greeted the group in the entry foyer and took them to the second floor to meet the new Chief of Police, Chief Racine who recently took over the position from Chief Souza.  Chief Racine knew his Bordenia, and solemnly (with a twinkle) swore in 18 new recruits as “official deputies” on the Borden case.  The group enjoyed a great ten minutes chatting with the busy Chief, who mentioned there was a $200 reward on the “tip hot line” for any clue which would assist in solving a case. After reflecting on the FRPD and their involvement in the Borden case, the “Mutton Eaters” were treated, as a special surprise, to a complete tour of the entire facility from the booking room to the dispatch and receivng room to the holding cells.  The Wall of Chiefs, which included Medley, Hilliard and Fleet was a big hit as well as the arrest book showing Lizzie Borden’s name.  They learned that chief and deputy chief badges are turned in when the officer retires, and that the three numbers which appear over the badge are numbers of fallen policemen, killed in the line of duty.  Currently three numbers appear although the force has actually lost  more.  The badge has not changed style since the era of Lizzie Borden as witnessed by the badge of Chief Medley, Fall River’s first titled Chief of Police.  It was learned that the crime scene camera in the archive was not the one used by Mr. Walsh to photograph the Borden house, but was dated slightly after 1892.

    Original blue lantern from the old FRPD building at Bedford and High Streets.

    The facilty was impressive, with the 24 hour dispatch and call -in room a state-of-the art- facility.  The night before the visit, Fall River sustained a large fire in a private residence, with the loss of one four year old child.  The dispatcher took the group through the procedure of how the calls were received, and how the response teams were sent out.  Also on the tour were the booking desk and a tour of the lock-up where sliding doors have replaced bars.  Male and female detainees are separated from each other in different sections of the building. 

     During the visit a review of a recent incident involving the discharging of an officer’s gun during a chase was being conducted, which is general procedure.  The briefing room was included and looked exactly like those seen on so many popular television programs.  The white board showed ongoing activity around the city, using the historic terminology for the sections of the city like Corky Row, Flint, Globe, etc.

    The visit was a highlight of the weekend for the group, and the viewing of the arrest book a special memory along with the great kindness and hospitality of the officers and employees.

  • Murder by Gaslight

    Readers of W&W will surely enjoy this excellent site -here’s one for the bookmark to favorites! http://murderbygasslight.blogspot.com/

    There’s just something about the glow of Victorian gaslight that seems to go with mystery and crime and dark winter nights.  For fictional gaslight adventures, look into Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight Mysteries (all available on Amazon).

     or the classic film thriller with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman

    Gaslight (1944) — Part 1