The time was 1892, the place was Fall River Massachusetts
On August 4, the bodies of Lizzie Borden's stepmother, Abby Durfee Borden, and her father, Andrew Jackson Borden, were found in their house at 92 Second Street. Mrs. Borden was in the upstairs guest bedroom, dead from 20 hatchet blows to the face and head. Mr. Borden was dead on the couch, barely moved from a sleeping position. His head suffered 10 hatchet blows.
In what was then termed the "Trial of the Century", Lizzie Borden was acquitted despite the strong evidence against her. The jury of 12 men acquitted her basically because of the social ideals attributed to women at the time. No one could believe that a God fearing, well bred, charitable young woman could muster the passion necessary to axe murder her mother and father.
During the trial, the defense downplayed Lizzie's often contradictory statements and lack of an alibi. Her claim, that her menstrual cycle brought on a seizure which blacked out her memory of the events went largely uncontested. This was because it was considered in bad taste at the time, and, much of the evidence supporting her defense claim went ungathered
After a 12 day trial, with an impressive amount of incriminating evidence presented by the prosecution, the jury took less than an hour to acquit her. Between the crime itself and the lurid details, many of the journalist and the tabloids of the day had a field day in the press.
Its historical importance cannot be overlooked. It seems to be a classic case of jury nullification. As all male, gentlemen jurors, refused to believe that a good Christian woman from an upstanding family could commit such a dastardly crime.
Commentary - I suppose many parallels can be made between the Lizzie Borden case and cases tried today. The O.J. Simpson trial comes to mind immediately. It just goes to show what a good bunch of attorneys and what people can be made to believe can do for you...