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  • Jeffrey K. Tesch
    Group: I saw the Case Re-opened segment about Lizzie on the learning channel the other night. According to the experts on this show, Lizzie had people lined
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 28, 2002
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      I saw the "Case Re-opened" segment about Lizzie on the learning channel the
      other night. According to the experts on this show, Lizzie had people lined
      up at the front door to kill the Bordens!

      George Quigley spun a conspiracy between the sisters, Uncle John, Dr. Bowen,
      and Billy Borden. He's got John killing Abby and Billy killing Andrew! And
      all five of these folks never breathed a word of their "hostile takeover" to
      anyone. And I guess Bridget never saw any of them that day...

      The recreations of the crimes were the cheesiest I've seen yet. Ed McBain's
      Lesbian theory showed Lizzie wearing a fetching "Mr. Fredericks" teddy while
      in bed with Bridget.

      Lizzie would be laughing to see the various conspirators shuttling in and
      out of the Borden house. It looked like Grand Central Station in there.

      When she took the axe, Lizzie counted on luck (which was with her) and the
      idea that no one would think her capable of such a deed. Judging from this
      show, she got her wish.

    • PatriciaLu@aol.com
      In a message dated 3/28/2002 8:42:55 AM Eastern Standard Time, ... I never saw this whole show, but came upon it one night while flipping around. I do remember
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 28, 2002
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        In a message dated 3/28/2002 8:42:55 AM Eastern Standard Time, jktesch@... writes:

        Ed McBain's
        Lesbian theory showed Lizzie wearing a fetching "Mr. Fredericks" teddy while
        in bed with Bridget.

        I never saw this whole show, but came upon it one night while flipping around. I do remember this scene and it's laughable.

        Pat in NY
      • savinrock
        Well hopefully there are enough ideas presented in my reply below to hopefully prime the pump of this list and get it going again (and not just to annoy
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 30, 2002
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          Well hopefully there are enough ideas presented in my reply below to
          hopefully 'prime the pump' of this list and get it going again (and
          not just to annoy Jeffrey with my continued stance against the
          automatic "Lizzie Did It And It's Not Open For Discussion"
          mind-think).... ;-)

          >I saw the "Case Re-opened" segment about Lizzie on the learning
          >channel the other night. According to the experts on this show,
          >Lizzie had people lined up at the front door to kill the Bordens!

          I saw the show, too, and the above statement is quite exaggerated....

          ONE researcher suggested that there was a conspiracy involving Lizzie,
          John Morse, Dr. Bowen, and possibly Emma; I for one was glad to hear
          that at least one researcher who is respected enough to be included in
          such a program considers both Dr. Bowen and Emma as possibly being
          involved on some level, as I thought I was the only one who had ever
          considered that...

          The researcher in question only stated that it was a possibility that
          Morse and Bowen helped hire someone to kill the Bordens, pointing to
          all the eyewitnesses who had seen the strange 'pale' man hanging
          around the house that morning...there was never any mention on the
          show that Lizzie 'had people lined up at the front door' to do the

          >George Quigley spun a conspiracy between the sisters, Uncle John, Dr.
          >Bowen, and Billy Borden.

          William Borden was never mentioned in the theory regarding the
          possibility that a hire killer was found to actually do the murders;
          William Borden figured into a separate theory that it was he who
          committed the murders because he was upset that Andrew wasn't going to
          officially recognize him as his son, and therefore no money would be
          left to William...

          On the show they had Lizzie helping William, but that doesn't make any
          sense to me and I don't see why she would help her illegitimate
          half-brother kill her father and stepmother unless there was also
          something in it for Lizzie...

          (And it's on that point that I can't be totally convinced that Lizzie
          did it, or did it alone, because absolutely no one has come up with a
          credible motive -- or theory for a motive -- that makes complete

          And I can't really buy William acting on his own either (this is
          saying that we accept the premise that he indeed was the illegitimate
          son of Andrew, or at least William considered himself to be), for the
          same reason I have reservations regarding Lizzie's supposed motive for
          killing the Bordens...

          Namely that we're talking about two individuals who were in their 30s
          at the time of the murders (Lizzie was 32 and William was in his late
          30s or about 40); if either Lizzie or William had been in their late
          teens or early-to-mid 20s when the Bordens were killed, it would make
          more sense to consider them as suspects because they wanted to get
          their hands on Andrew's money...

          But both Lizzie and William had waited so long, why would either one
          suddenly act in the summer of 1892 -- unless the status quo had
          changed or was slated to change in some manner...?

          Something seems to have changed in the Borden household in the 1891-92
          period, and uncovering the nature of that change I believe would go a
          long way to explaining the murders...

          According to interviews in the "Lizzie Borden Sourcebook", friends of
          Abby stated that starting a couple of months before the murders, Abby
          suddenly started revealing that "Mr. Borden is going to take good care
          of me when he dies"...

          Now considering that Abby and Andrew were not newlyweds, it's strange
          that Abby would not only suddenly start talking about such an intimate
          matter, but also sharing such personal information with acquaintances.
          It suggests that perhaps there had been some question prior to 1892
          regarding what her status would be upon Andrew's death. Perhaps
          Andrew, like many of that era, neglected making a will earlier because
          of either superstition or because he wanted to keep everyone guessing
          as to who would get what...

          But in most jurisdictions in that era, if Andrew had died intestate
          Abby would have gotten anywhere from one-third to one-half the estate;
          in some areas the state ruled that a wife would get half her husband's
          estate and any children would share in the other half; other
          jurisdictions would have had both the wife and the children sharing

          If we factor William Borden into the equation, if he could have
          successfully proven that he was Andrew's son, then Lizzie and Emma
          would have either had to share their half of Andrew's estate with
          William, or the estate would have been evenly divided into quarters
          between Abby, Lizzie, Emma and William. In other words, if
          Massachusetts had a law where the surviving wife automatically
          received one-half of the estate and the children received the other
          half, Abby would have gotten 50 percent of Andrew's estate while Emma,
          Lizzie and William would have had to share the remaining half amongst
          themselves. If Massachusetts law stated that all survivors shared
          equally, then Abby would have received 25 percent along with Emma,
          Lizzie and William.

          For illustration, let's say that Andrew's estate was worth $250,000 at
          the time of his death; if the law stated that an intestate estate was
          shared evenly amongst all survivors, Abby would have gotten a little
          over $80,000 (as would Emma and Lizzie each) if William Borden got
          nothing; if William Borden successfully proved he was Andrew's son,
          albeit illegitmate, then all 4 would have received a little over
          $60,000 each...not a shabby sum in 1892, but perhaps disappointing to
          someone who may have had grander plans for their life, as Lizzie is
          alleged to have had. But someone could live very comfortably on that
          amount if they were content to live an upper-middleclass lifestyle
          rather than a Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous...

          If Massachusetts law stated that a wife automatically received half of
          the husband's intestate estate and the children shared the other half,
          Abby would have been in even better straights, as she would have
          received $125,000; if only Lizzie and Emma were recognized as Andrew's
          children, they would have have each gotten $62,500 -- again, if
          William Borden were factored in, then Lizzie and Emma would have had
          to share the remaining $125,000 with him, reducing their share of the
          estate down to a little over $40,000 each...again, an amount that one
          could have lived comfortably on, but not lavishly. And an amount that
          was sure to gall any child who felt they 'deserved' a greater portion
          of the estate than a second wife who was seen as an usurper...

          So even without Andrew having a will, Abby would have been at least
          comfortable with what she would have gotten from his estate; the only
          ones who would have had a problem would be Lizzie and Emma (especially
          Emma), who either would have resented sharing equally with Abby, or
          would have been really put out if they only got a quarter of the
          estate each, or had to divide their half into thirds to share with
          William, while Abby got a full one-half of the estate...

          But once again I have to point out that that situation was one of
          long-standing (for the 30-something years Abby and Andrew had been
          married), and in and of itself would not suggest a reason to murder
          Abby (let alone Andrew)...

          No, something else seems to have prompted Abby to suddenly in early
          1892 become so chatty about her future financial prospects and that
          the prospects were suddenly looking much better than they had
          previously...and that suggests that not only was there a change made
          (or in the process of being made) regarding Andrew's official
          designation of who got what, but that something had occured to
          suddenly start Andrew contemplating on such matters has his mortality
          and what would happen to his estate upon his death...


          Which to me implies that something was going on regarding the status
          of Andrew's health, and I suspect that sometime in 1891 (or early in
          1892 at the latest) he was diagnosed with a terminal illness; my guess
          is that if this was the case, the diagnosis was back in 1891, which
          perhaps explains John Morse's sudden appearance back east that same
          year. It is a theory that would explain Dr. Bowen's involvement, at
          least insomuch that he would have known of Andrew's condition....

          Perhaps Andrew did not want his daughters to know about his ill
          health, at least not at first. Perhaps he only revealed it to Morse
          (and presumably Abby), asking him to come back east to help manage
          Andrew's affairs; and perhaps when Andrew revealed to Morse and Bowen
          his plans to basically disinherit his own children, they conspired to
          murder the couple for the benefit of the Borden daughters. This would
          explain why Abby had to die first (because her estate would
          automatically go to Andrew for the next hour or so that he was alive),
          and would perhaps explain why Dr. Bowen would agree to the murder of
          both people, as Abby would be seen as an usurper stealing the Borden
          sisters' "rightful" property, and Andrew's killing would perhaps be
          seen as a mercy killing by Bowen, especially if Andrew's
          disease/condition meant he was facing the prospect of a long and
          painful decline before inevitable death...

          Morse OTOH seems to have been a fairly amoral character at best, and
          probably could have found it just as easy to kill (or have killed)
          both Abby and Andrew if the right justification was presented to

          We really don't know what Morse's feelings towards Abby were; from
          what we have available to study, we are told that their relations were
          cordial enough, even seemingly friendly. But I suspect that Morse,
          the old horse-trader (equivalent to a used-car salesman today) that he
          was, was a master at concealing his true feelings to further his own
          aims. He may have resented Abby as much as Emma did (and Lizzie is
          alleged to have, although I don't think she resented Abby as much as
          Emma did, nor for her whole life), and also viewed Abby as a
          money-grubbing usurper; but if he wanted to stay on at least cordial,
          if not warm, terms with Andrew Morse would have had to maintained a
          facade of being accepting and friendly towards Abby...

          But if Andrew announced that he was dying, and that he was putting
          together a will that would leave the bulk of his estate to Abby, how
          would Morse have reacted, especially if he secretly resented Abby?
          Would Dr. Bowen have been sympathetic enough to the Borden sisters'
          plight to agree to murder a woman he may have agreed was 'stealing'
          what was rightfully Emma's and Lizzie's, and murder a man who was
          slated to die a prolonged and painful death anyway (perhaps seeing it
          as a 'mercy killing')...

          >He's got John killing Abby and Billy killing Andrew!

          I'm not sure but that John Morse DIDN'T kill Abby; he really doesn't
          have the air-tight alibi that legend has attributed to him, if one
          reads the interviews in the contemporary news articles that are
          included in David Kent's "Lizzie Borden Sourcebook"...there is a good
          20 or 30 minutes unaccounted for from the time he was seen at the Post
          Office until he arrived at his niece's house for the alleged visit...

          If we accept that the niece and the cousin who actually owned the
          house told the truth, they were in separate rooms when Morse allegedly
          arrived that morning; they also describe having an 'open house' of
          sorts that morning (an unusual time of day to have such an activity),
          and describe the morning as being hectic and the house full of people.
          In other words, when looked at closely, their statements not only
          don't agree on the time that Morse arrived at the house, but show that
          they just 'assumed' he was there because someone said he was (in other
          words, they didn't actually SEE Morse until some time after he
          supposedly arrived)...

          So not only did the 2 women give different times for when Morse
          arrived, or supposedly arrived, they also could not account for his
          presence for a goodly portion of the morning, only assuming that he
          was about the house somewhere...

          Morse himself was extremely vague when pressed for an account of the
          time he spent between dropping a letter off at the Post Office and
          arriving at the house his niece was staying at, a house that was only
          a couple of blocks from the Borden house and about a mile away, and
          which lay on the other side of the Borden house from the Post

          In other words Morse, who allegedly walked to his niece's, would have
          had to retrace his steps and go back by the Borden's house to reach
          the niece's residence...

          Something else that has been overlooked is the fact that both this
          niece and the cousin she was staying with at first stated that DOCTOR
          BOWEN WAS AT THEIR HOUSE THAT MORNING, and that Dr. Bowen left their
          house at a little after 11 a.m. after receiving a call (they had a
          phone at this house) regarding the Borden murders...

          This was later amended when the question was raised regarding how Dr.
          Bowen could have received a call about the murders some 10 minutes
          before the call was made to the Fall River police regarding the
          murders...and the inevitable question as to WHO would have made the
          call; the other major question was WHY both Bowen and Morse were
          attending this 'open house' at the same time, and what perhaps that
          would have meant.

          So their original description had Dr. Bowen receiving a phonecall at
          their house that Andrew Borden had been murdered; this call was said
          to have occured at a few minutes after 11 (both the niece and cousin
          agreed on the time, and on the time that both Bowen and Morse left
          their house); Dr. Bowen left for the Borden house immediately after
          the call, and Morse was said to have left at between 11:20 and 11:30

          This description of events had some big problems built into it for
          both Dr. Bowen and John Morse; first off, it put the two of them in
          strange proximity at the time of the murders; second, it has Dr. Bowen
          hearing about Andrew Borden's murder almost 10 minutes before the Fall
          River police received the call about the murder. Third, it has Morse
          leaving at a time that would have been too late for him to have taken
          the trolly he claimed to have taken, and for which he had such a
          profound memory, even though he couldn't remember much about anything
          else he did that morning...

          So in a later interview, the niece and cousin amended their story; in
          the later version Dr. Bowen was never at their house, but they claimed
          that Morse left their house at about 11:15 because HE received a phone
          call from Dr. Bowen regarding Andrew being found murdered....

          In and of itself this version should have been fine for providing
          Morse with an alibi -- except the cousin and niece didn't seem to be
          aware of the fact that Morse had given a completely different version
          of events to police, claiming to have known nothing about the murders
          until he arrived back at the Borden's house shortly before noon and
          saw the large crowd gathered outside...

          Of course Morse having heard of the murders BEFORE leaving his niece's
          house would explain why he did not seem to be the least bit surprised
          to find a large crowd gathered outside the Borden house nor interested
          in finding out why police were crawling all over the place...but if
          that was all there was to it, why lie in the first place? Why not
          just tell the police "I was visiting my niece and I received a phone
          call telling me that my brother-in-law had been killed and to come
          home immediately..."? It seemed that for some reason Morse not only
          wanted to disavow any knowledge of the murder before arriving back at
          the Borden house, but more importantly disavow any sort of contact,
          even if only by phone, with Dr. Bowen that morning...

          >And I guess Bridget never saw any of them that day...

          What Bridget saw and what Bridget actually knew will remain a

          >The recreations of the crimes were the cheesiest I've seen yet.

          Agreed. I cringed when I saw that they had the 'slop bucket' where
          the women of the house deposited their menstrual pads in the kitchen
          instead of down in the cellar...

          >Ed McBain's
          >Lesbian theory showed Lizzie wearing a fetching "Mr. Fredericks"
          >teddy while in bed with Bridget.

          Actually it was a long satin nightgown in a 1930s Art Deco style; a
          teddy is a short outfit with short panties, either a 2-piece outfit or
          a single unit with the panties built in...either way, it wasn't an
          outfit appropriate for the era (let alone for Lizzie), unless we are
          to believe the nightgown was a little number Lizzie picked up in Paris
          on her European trip a few years before... ;-)

        • murielarnold77901
          To the group: I missed the TLC segment on Lizzie. From the responses I ve read, I didn t miss anything. I would comment more often but my computer and I seem
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 10, 2002
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            To the group:
            I missed the TLC segment on Lizzie. From the responses I've read, I
            didn't miss anything.
            I would comment more often but my computer and I seem to speak a
            different language. It talks to everyone but me.
            The idea of Billy killing his "father" for failing to acknowledge him
            is ludicrous. Old man Borden had the sex drive of a three-day-old
            dead fish.
            Dr. Bowen denied having gone to Weybosset Street that morning. He
            was in Tiverton, R. I. that morning. Never learned of the boy who
            drove him around, but he returned home around 11 a.m. that morning,
            was told he was needed to the Borden house and did not leave there
            till 11:20, just as the first policeman arrived, so he could not have
            been the one who called Morse.
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