John V. Morse, Lizzie’s mother’s brother, had spent the night before the murders at the Borden’s house in the guestroom where Abby Borden would be hacked to bits the following day. Although John had a good alibi for the times of both killings, he was an early and favorite suspect. John had some training as a butcher, and was a jack of all trades around a farm. Some think he knew about, or was an accomplice to the deeds, although no motive seems clearly apparent. He also received no money or property after Lizzie was acquitted in June 1893.
Joe Radza, an eighth grade teacher from Warren, Ohio will be playing the role of Uncle John Morse this year on August 4th at the Borden house for the annual re-enactments. Uncle John’s behavior when he returned for lunch has always seemed peculiar to students of the case. John bypassed the growing crowds by the Borden’s gate and went into the back yard by the barn and picked up and consumed several pears before ambling slowly up the side steps and going inside to see what was going on. He had a reputation as a peculiar old guy in his boater and old gray suit and string tie. Did he know more than he confided to the police?