The Lizzie Borden Inquest Testimony

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The Inquest Testimony of Lizzie Borden was conducted over three days, from August 9th through August 11th 1892. Judge Josiah C. Blaisdell of the Second District Court presided over the proceedings held in a courtroom over the police station in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Hosea M. Knowlton, who later went on to prosecute the Commonwealth's murder case against Lizzie Borden, represented the State.

Lizzie Borden did not have legal representation in the proceedings.

Lizzie did request that their family attorney, Andrew J. Jennings, be present. But, her request was refused under a state statute that an inquest may be held in a private manner.

Lizzie Borden’s Inquest Testimony is important because it is the only time we hear Lizzie speak about the murder of her father and step-mother. She was not compelled to testify at her murder trial and she does not speak publicly of the murders ever again. In this document we hear Lizzie for the only time, give her account of the murders.

Because Volume I of the Inquest Testimony has been lost, Lizzy Borden’s testimony is reproduced from The Evening Standard, New Bedford, MA, June 12, 1893. It was created by Terence Duniho and Stefani Koorey. Bridget Sullivan’s testimony, also in Volume I seems to be lost forever and is not included here.

With the exception of Bridget Sullivan’s testimony This is a transcription of the full Inquest; Volume I, with all of Lizzie Borden’s testimony, and Volume II, which includes the testimony of John V. Morse, Emma L. Borden, Dr. Seabury W. Bowen, Adelaide B. Churchill, Hiram C. Harrington, Charles S. Sawyer, Augusta D. Tripp, Alice M. Russell, Sarah B. Whitehead, Hannah H. Gifford, Eli Bence, Frank H. Kilroy and Frederick B. Hart.

A. I came down, but I did not eat breakfast with them. I did not eat any breakfast. Frequently I would go into the dining room and sit down to the table with them and not eat Q. I understood you to say that you did not come down to breakfast?

any breakfast.

Q. Did you give to the officer the same skirt you had on the day of the tragedy?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Do you know whether there was any blood on the skirt?

Click here to see more of Lizzie Borden's August 10th Inquest Testimony.

Taunton Jail

August 11, 1892, after the Inquest Testimony, Lizzie Borden was served with a warrant of arrest and jailed for ten months pending her trial for the murders of her father and stepmother. Lizzie was held in Taunton, eight miles north of Fall River.

 A cross scratched into the original print negative in the left center of this photograph indicates the cell occupied by Lizzie Borden.

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