Hired Assassin

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Minions3
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Hired Assassin

Postby Minions3 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:59 pm

Hi
I'm just wondering if anyone thinks that Lizzie and Morse hired an Assassin to do it despite Lizzie Burning her Dress.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Minions3 » Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:53 pm

After playing armchair Detective for about
25 years.
I am of the opinion that Lizzie and Morse had William A Davis kill Andrew and Abby and George E Howe was the getaway driver.
Me thinks John Morse was going to get the Borden farm but Andrew changed his mind and decided to put the farm in Abby's name.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby mbhenty » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:51 am

Poor John Morse. Though he is not a very sympathetic character, guilty of weird behavior, etc., I don't really think he had anything to do with the crime. Of course, I think he is guilty as heck for knowing a lot about it but not being a party to it. Staying at the borden house he must have known his nieces and their parents squabbles and family problems. Thus, if he didn't have any direct information or knowledge, deep inside Johnny's heart, he knew what had happened. :grin:

But to think that such a conspiracy could be shared by a modest number of people, and with the same mind set, can only be discerned with reservation if not outright suspicion. But of course, your telling of events are just as valid as mine... or a thousand of other people. This case is like play-doh. You can mold it in many, many ways—except one, that is, the one that solves it with any certitude :!:

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby NancyDrew » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:30 am

The longer I study this case, read about it. hear all the different versions, the more I'm inclined to believe Lizzie didn't swing the axe on either of her parents.

I'm staring to warm up to the idea of a conspiracy, possibly a hit man and a driver.

The timeline of the murders is way, way too tight. For Lizzie to have done the dastardly deeds herself would have required such impeccable planning and timing, I just can't fathom it or make it fit.

There simply HAD to be others involved. I believe Lizzie knew what was going to happen, possibly even arranged it herself (and yes, I think Morse could have been one of the architects; he is one STRANGE dude.)

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Minions3 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:32 am

I find it very Suspicious that Morse went to Swansea the day before for the Eggs and that He told a Reporter that the first He heard of the Murders was by Phone while visiting the Emery's and then later retracted that statement.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Minions3 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:34 am

I think The Phone call to Morse was either from Dr. Bowen or the Assassin.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby InterestedReader » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:01 am

"So we're going to do this in broad daylight?"

The more conspirators get together in a room, the more chance some bod at the back puts his hand up during the planning process with this reasonable query.

"If I had done this why would I do it in broad daylight? It would have been so much easier to kill them in their sleep in the dead of night in a house I know down to its every last squeak."

Lizzie said this, to someone... I forget who. This is paraphrase. People will argue it's a tricksy double-bluff but the woman made a good point. Who would plan such a killing for broad daylight on a busy street?

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Minions3 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:40 am

Lizzie and Morse would in My opinion.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Steveads2004 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:46 am

Such great points in all these posts. My views have shifted like crazy over the years. I tend to be on the side of Lizzie being a key conspiritor along with Emma, ( I read that in her entire life she never stayed overnight out of that house until that week.) Morse seems too strange with his airtight alibi and all to NOT have been involved. I read that Lizzie said something along the lines of they were so loud talking the night before she had got up to shut her door. (Fall River Tragedy) Loud talk may mean disagreement? All 3 of them in loud talk makes me like the idea of the farm transfer going bad for Morse that was mentioned here. Itsall too much for one little Lizzie to have pulled off. She seems like a nervous wreck.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Minions3 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:18 am

I think I may have found the Livery Stable of Charles T Kirby at 36 Rock St where Morse rented Horse/Buggy for his trip to swansea the day before the Murders.
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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Minions3 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:19 am

Unless this building is more recent.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby InterestedReader » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:51 pm

For almost a year Morse would labour to Taunton Jail with Lizzie's dinner-pail, wait for her to eat the dinner, wait for the pail to be returned, then go home. She refused to see him. There are other examples of his behaviour which suggest he was doltishly, perhaps paternalistically fond of his neice. Did it extend to creepy-fond? I don't know. Lizzie was ashamed of him and shunned him. And the people who see a murder-plot hatched between Lizzie and Morse find it very subtle and clever of her to pretend to dislike him. These same people in nearly every other context find her to be an appallingly unskilled liar. Can they have it both ways? Have Lizzie duplicitous and dissimulating only when it suits them?

There's an interesting dynamic between two individuals who kill as a joint pursuit. So far I'm having trouble seeing any signs of it between these two.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Steveads2004 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 5:20 pm

Now there is something I never heard before! So Morse did that every day! That seems like such a loyal family thing to do. And she never even saw him, or thanked him? Very strange, there is much more to that story!

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby InterestedReader » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:05 pm

I read this recently but am deeply ashamed to say, I've forgotten where :-|
I've just looked in my notes but can't see it...
It may well be a contemporary newspaper because I've been reading through them like crazy. Even so, even with the usual reservations about journalism, it impressed me as probably true and showed a man who was genuinely concerned. He did that every day for nearly a year, a steadfast show of support, without any response from her side? It makes him sound rather genuine, don't you think?

Bit of a weird co-incidence but I'm just now working on something about Attleboro. You're not far from Fall River, are you? Would you be ever so kind and help me with a bit of info please? How long would it have taken to get into Fall River from Attleboro, by 1892 means like pony and trap or whatever there was available? I'm having a bit of difficulty visualising it just from Google Maps. Many thanks.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Franz » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:30 am

Minions3 wrote:Hi
I'm just wondering if anyone thinks that Lizzie and Morse hired an Assassin to do it despite Lizzie Burning her Dress.


Hey Minions3, welcome to the Forum.

In these last years I have been trying my best in the Forum to demonstrate the guilt of Morse, of which I am almost absolutely convinced. To be honest, I am very happy to see someone else including Morse in the suspect list. In your opinion, Lizzie and Morse might have hired someone to kill Abby and Andrew. Well, all is possibile in the Borden case, but if so, it seems to me very difficult to explain why, immediately after the murder, Lizzie and Emma sent a private detective to investigate their uncle. If I were Lizzie and had "collaborated" with my uncle to kill my parents, I would have never done such a thing.
Last edited by Franz on Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Mr. Morse, when you were told for the THIRD time that Abby and Andrew had been killed, why did you pronounce a "WHAT" to Mrs. Churchill? Why?"

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby NancyDrew » Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:43 am

Interested Reader: I live in this area...by automobile Fall River and Attleboro would take about 30-40 mins, depending on traffic. In 1892, I would imagine it would take even longer. This is pure speculation...an hour and a half? Two hours maybe?

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby InterestedReader » Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:48 pm

NancyDrew wrote:Interested Reader: I live in this area...by automobile Fall River and Attleboro would take about 30-40 mins, depending on traffic. In 1892, I would imagine it would take even longer. This is pure speculation...an hour and a half? Two hours maybe?


Thanks ever so much!
It would take longer than I was supposing.
Now Reheboth...Reheboth to Fall River...Google Maps says 20 minutes by car, 1 hour 9 minutes by bicycle, and 4 hours by footsteps. I'm thinking double the cycling time might reasonably give pony and trap time (?). It looks like the Route 118 road runs straight down to Fall River. I'm wondering if this little road would be there in the 1890s... it looks likely.

I'm reading there were some serious marshes and 'swamps' round about Attleboro and Reheboth, 'the worst in Massachusetts'. Is that true? They may not be there now, perhaps the land has been developed. But do you think these 'swamps' and overgrown marshlands extended below Reheboth?

Again, many thanks. I try my best with Google Maps, but I'm a long way away. :grin:

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Franz » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:05 pm

And concerning the investigation on the personality of Morse, I would like to open a quick parenthesis here.

The investigation demonstrated that Morse was an honest, respectable man, a person for good, even though somehow eccentric. Positive, in one word. Well, those who never consider Morse as a potential candidate for the murder, are immediately reassured: oh look, Morse was such a good man, it could not have been him!

Well, supposing that the investigation's result corresponded perfectly to the reality. But, please, in which Bible, in which Coran, in which Buddhist sacred text it is said that a murderer MUST, HAVE TO, be a bad person? One who cuts down the head of the tyrant is a hero of the nation!
"Mr. Morse, when you were told for the THIRD time that Abby and Andrew had been killed, why did you pronounce a "WHAT" to Mrs. Churchill? Why?"

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Steveads2004 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:39 pm

Morse cannot be the assasin since he is not on the property when the murders occur. This seems to be factual unless you have evidence otherwise. I believe he probably had some role in planning something and that it got out of hand.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Steveads2004 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:40 pm

Morse cannot be the assasin since he is not on the property when the murders occur. This seems to be factual unless you have evidence otherwise. I believe he probably had some role in planning something and that it got out of hand.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Franz » Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:18 am

Steveads2004 wrote:Morse cannot be the assasin since he is not on the property when the murders occur...


I have never said anything of contrary. I have been always saying that in my opinion Morse architectured the murder plan and one of his accompplices (since IMO there might have been two) physically accomplished the killing.
"Mr. Morse, when you were told for the THIRD time that Abby and Andrew had been killed, why did you pronounce a "WHAT" to Mrs. Churchill? Why?"

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby InterestedReader » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:46 am

Franz wrote: I have been always saying that in my opinion Morse architectured the murder plan and one of his accompplices (since IMO there might have been two) physically accomplished the killing.



Supposing the killers were hired to kill - why do they take so long to kill?
Superfluous and time-consuming blows feature in both kills, and as for the wait between, most anyone knew Andrew Borden's habits so it wasn't difficult to pick a time when he and his wife could be bumped off together. Morse himself could probably provide the best time to find Andrew in the house. Nor does it seem optimal to kill with the domestic help in the way so wouldn't you need to include Bridget Sullivan in the plan? Otherwise you've a whole lot of unnecessary risk of being identified and caught.

I'm not being contary. I haven't made up my mind in any direction. But would hired killers agree to kill in this kind of scenario of risk? Crossing a phalanx of maids washing windows and nosy neighbours under the blaze of morning sunshine just to get into the killing venue...

You'd have to hide him or them in the house overnight and I suppose the strongest suspicion against Morse is he was there to let them in. But even then... kill the couple in their bed, in the night, and you have Sullivan safely, predictably on the top floor and Lizzie the other side of a divided house, which is surely a better plan?
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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby snokkums » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:24 am

I think it's a possibly. Both of them had reasons to put Andy out of the picture.
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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Franz » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:38 pm

InterestedReader wrote:...
Supposing the killers were hired to kill...
... most anyone knew Andrew Borden's habits so it wasn't difficult to pick a time when he and his wife could be bumped off together...


1. I used the word "accomplice", I didn't say that the one who physically accomplished the murder was a hired killer. There is a difference, I think.

2. I agree with you for the second point. But on the other hand, I think as well that the Borden murder was a very carefully prepared plan, in which Abby and Andrew must be respectively killed with a significant interval of time, so that the wealth of the family would surely go to the Borden sisters. IMO the Borden couple were killed by a third part (Morse in head) in favor of their daughters, who were both absolutely innocent.
Last edited by Franz on Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Mr. Morse, when you were told for the THIRD time that Abby and Andrew had been killed, why did you pronounce a "WHAT" to Mrs. Churchill? Why?"

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Minions3 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:54 pm

Third party =William A Davis.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Franz » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:31 am

NancyDrew wrote:... The timeline of the murders is way, way too tight. For Lizzie to have done the dastardly deeds herself would have required such impeccable planning and timing, I just can't fathom it or make it fit...


I totally agree.

And if she had really so impeccablly preapared the plan, why didn't she invent a better story for the barn? And for the note? And so on...
"Mr. Morse, when you were told for the THIRD time that Abby and Andrew had been killed, why did you pronounce a "WHAT" to Mrs. Churchill? Why?"

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby InterestedReader » Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:34 am

Franz wrote:
1. I used the word "accomplice", I didn't say that the one who physically accomplished the murder was a hired killer. There is a difference, I think.

2. I agree with you for the second point. But on the other hand, I think as well that the Borden murder was a very carefully prepared plan, in which Abby and Andrew must be respectively killed with a significant interval of time, so that the wealth of the family would surely go to the Borden sisters. IMO the Borden couple were killed by a third part (Morse in head) in favor of their daughters, who were both absolutely innocent.



Ah, I see what you mean. You believe Morse had the couple murdered on behalf of the Borden daughters but without their cognisance. Was it really the case that their inheritance depended on the sequence of the deaths?

I do have trouble imagining the mentality of a man who vacates a house to allow two messy assassinations, while an unprepared woman drifts from room to room and there's no knowing when Bridget might walk in. But does Morse's departure have some bearing on the first killing? Morse says he leaves about 8.40am and it's as if his leaving releases a potential act into the reality of Mrs Borden's death. Within 50 minutes - perhaps even less.

If Morse's accomplices - Davis, say - are not killing for money then how is it in their interest to kill?

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Franz » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:29 am

InterestedReader wrote:...

Ah, I see what you mean. You believe Morse had the couple murdered on behalf of the Borden daughters but without their cognisance. Was it really the case that their inheritance depended on the sequence of the deaths?

I do have trouble imagining the mentality of a man who vacates a house to allow two messy assassinations, while an unprepared woman drifts from room to room and there's no knowing when Bridget might walk in. But does Morse's departure have some bearing on the first killing? Morse says he leaves about 8.40am and it's as if his leaving releases a potential act into the reality of Mrs Borden's death. Within 50 minutes - perhaps even less.

If Morse's accomplices - Davis, say - are not killing for money then how is it in their interest to kill?


1. If Andrew died first, the wealth went to his wife Abby.

2. Lizzie drifted from room to room, right. But in comparison with her bedroom, kitchen, living room, dining room and parlor, the guest room, where Abby was killed, should have the remotest chance to see Lizzie coming in. Bridget never went into that room. I think Morse knew the risk, but he decided to run the risk (as all murderers in all murder cases), and fortunately he (and his accomplices) succeeded. Their luck made the Borden case unsolved.

3. How is it in Morse and his accomplices' interest to kill? Good question!
"Mr. Morse, when you were told for the THIRD time that Abby and Andrew had been killed, why did you pronounce a "WHAT" to Mrs. Churchill? Why?"

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Minions3 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:22 am

According to Victoria Lincoln Andrew was going to sell his Swansea farm to Morse and changed his mind and decided to give it to Abby.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Minions3 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:35 am

I am %100 positive that Lizzie did NOT kill her father.
Lizzie was right handed.
Andrew's assassin was left handed, According to this newspaper article.
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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby InterestedReader » Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:00 am

Franz wrote:
3. How is it in Morse and his accomplices' interest to kill? Good question!



Well I know far too little to answer it! :smile:

Morse made his wealth by his 'twenties, we are told. By 1892 he was wealthy enough to live off his property - or so he said at the inquest. I read that Morse was rather given to philosophy and later in life liked to discuss the likelihood of an afterlife, that some found him an independent thinker or even an agnostic. Killing two people just for a farm, doesn't that sound too brutish? He breaks bread with a couple then kills them for a farm?

He's a Fall River man originally and I'd be more disposed to believe his presence at the house might attract someone there, a crazy someone... On the day of the murders it was Morse who started wondering aloud before police-officers if a killer hadn't hid in the house overnight... He seems to be contributing with this idea almost as soon as he arrives. He returns between 11.35 and 11.45 and is talking to Sawyer at the side-door at 11.45. So before he even enters the house and sees a body he's speculating on a killer hidden there overnight..(?)

Morse was best-equipped to know. He got up before six, before Bridget, before anyone.
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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby InterestedReader » Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:26 am

Minions3 wrote:I am %100 positive that Lizzie did NOT kill her father.
Lizzie was right handed.
Andrew's assassin was left handed, According to this newspaper article.



I've read and re-read the testimony trying to understand which they thought it was, a left or right handed killer. And searched through Forum posts. And I still don't understand which they thought it was!

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Nevermore » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:05 pm

In reading this thread, was intrigued by the calls that might have been made to Morse.

I well -- in fact all too well -- remember the era before cell phones. Morse was out and about that morning; how would any callers know where to reach him? Seems to me it might be more likely Morse himself placed the call. Phones were not prevalent then at all but he could have found one. Whoever he called would of course be in on the plot. I don't know for sure but I heavily doubt the Borden residence had a phone; so to me this suggests that Lizzie and Bridget might be off the hook.

I remember having been registered here several years back but a computer crash sort of ended that registration, although I have read the forum often ever since. I don't remember whether I ever posted or not.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby InterestedReader » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:49 pm

There was some research done which suggested the Emerys had a 'phone. It's referred to here -

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5211&p=82004&hilit=Davis+phone#p82004

and just stuck in my mind, as I'm sure it has done with others.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Minions3 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:42 am

The Emery's had a Phone
I was told this by the curator of some sort of Telephone museum in Boston.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby twinsrwe » Sat May 06, 2017 4:41 pm

Hello Minions3, welcome to the forum.

I see you believe that Lizzie and John Morse had William A. Davis kill Andrew and Abby and George E. Howe was the getaway driver. Well, we are all entitled to our opinions and beliefs, but I do have a question for you. How is it possible for a blind man to kill two people? According to John Morse’s inquest testimony, William A. Davis could not see.

Inquest Testimony of John V. Morse, being questioned by Hosea Knowlton, page 94 (1):

Q. What is your place of residence, Mr. Morse?
A. For the past year it has been South Dartmouth; my real home is in the west.

Q. Wherebouts in South Dartmouth?
A. William A. Davis



Q. What relation is Mr. Davis to you?
A. None. Years before I went West, I worked for them in the meat business. I have always kept up correspondence since. It seems like home to me, and I like to stay there. Isaac C. Davis, his son, is in the meat business with him. The old man cannot see now, has a cancer. I stay there with them.

Source: http://lizzieandrewborden.com/wp-conten ... ay2003.pdf

John Morse stated that William A. Davis could not see, so how is it possible that a blind man was the killer of both Andrew and Abby? The inquest testimonies were held August 9-11, 1892. This is 5-7 days after the murders, therefore, we are not talking about a huge period of time between the day of the murders and the day John Morse stated that William A. Davis was blind. There is only one possible conclusion: William A. Davis did not kill the Bordens.
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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby InterestedReader » Sat May 06, 2017 4:53 pm

Twins, I think Morse means 'old man' Isaac was blind, Isaac the father. Isaac was 75 and dying of cancer.

I can see why Morse might have a lot of affection for Isaac Davis... Morse was young, between 17 and 22 when he went to live with the Davis family as an apprentice, and as you know apprentices often lived as part of the family. It wasn't unusual for an almost familial bond to develop. Davis had had daughters but no son until William was born in 1851, he may have come to regard John Morse as a son? He may well have taken on Morse before his son was born, when he might be wondering if he'd get a son. And Morse's mother was dead, when he went to the Davis household. It's likely he did think of the Davis family as home, as he says.

I completely agree with you about the theory... It is an absurdly bad theory!

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby twinsrwe » Sat May 06, 2017 8:43 pm

You may be absolutely right, Interested. It's unfortunate that Knowlton didn't need to question Morse any further to clarify which Davis he meant, but then who he lived with really was irrelevant to the Borden murders.
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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby snokkums » Sun May 07, 2017 5:53 pm

:wink: I think that Morse knew more than he was telling
I don't think the cops really considered him. They should have questioned h more in depth.
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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby InterestedReader » Mon May 08, 2017 7:07 am

Snokkums, according to the newspapers, Lizzie sent Detective Hanscom out to Iowa to investigate his past life. The Fall River Globe reported that on August the 15th. Do you believe she did? If it's true, it didn't bother him too much. In the coming months and again according to newspaper reports, Morse visited the jail daily to take Lizzie her dinner, even though she would never see him, say the newspapers. Morse just waited to collect the empty plate!

I find it hard to make out if the police initially suspected Morse. Just about everyone else was suspecting him, if you believe the newspapers. Back in Iowa even his brother-in-law was said to be voicing his suspicions. Although, granted, this was probably the 'press seeing an opportunity to jump on gossip.

I'm also finding it difficult to believe all the theories about motive, mostly that money motivated Lizzie to kill, or hire others to kill, or others who killed independently but again for money... Weirdly, the one idea I find growing on me, if Lizzie were guilty, is she feared being committed. But quite honestly I believe it was impossible for her to commit those murders without Bridget's connivance, and it's ludicrous to suppose that someone of her limited sphere of social interaction could go out and 'hire an assassin'. Morse was intelligent enough to gauge that if he went out and 'hired an assassin' to commit the crime with his neice on the premises, she ran the risk of being locked up for life. Don't you find it unlikely, that he would have these people killed out of concern for her welfare?

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Franz » Tue May 09, 2017 6:27 am

InterestedReader wrote:... Morse was intelligent enough to gauge that if he went out and 'hired an assassin' to commit the crime with his neice on the premises, she ran the risk of being locked up for life. Don't you find it unlikely, that he would have these people killed out of concern for her welfare?


Very well said, InterestedReader.

But just because of what you said, I always think that 1) The two victims' being BARBARICLY killed might have been intentional, a staging, that might decrease the potential suspisions on the persons present in the house, Lizzie (and Bridget). "Morse was intelligent enough" as well to think of this, I think. 2) Yes I find it unlikely that Morse would have these people killed out of concern for her (Lizzie's) WELFARE, but maybe not unlikely for a different motive.

(P.S.: I just realized that I might have not understand well your post, but I could not cancel the mine. Sorry. :sad: )
"Mr. Morse, when you were told for the THIRD time that Abby and Andrew had been killed, why did you pronounce a "WHAT" to Mrs. Churchill? Why?"

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby InterestedReader » Tue May 09, 2017 8:08 am

I'm sure you've understood me perfectly, Franz!

It's me who fails to understand the reasoning behind this 'theory'.

Say I am Morse, with 60 years experience under my belt, and for whatever reason I decide these two people will be executed - wouldn't I arrange for it to be done when Lizzie isn't there and not when she is? Do these theorists disdain simplicity? Have them killed when she's in New Bedford with alibis watching her crochet and Lizzie Borden would never come to trial. If it's Morse's Plan, then doesn't he worry she might be traumatised for life? Or if Lizzie and Morse are collaborating, they can have the Bordens killed while she's fishing in Marion. Was it not the habit of Mr and Mrs Borden to go over to the Swansea farm? Why not kill them there, where it was quiet, without all the traffic of the Second St thoroughfare? My point is, it really would be a better Plan if Lizzie were not in the house. That's all. Otherwise we have a plan which is reckless and unlikely to be successful, however super-subtle the 'staging'. Also I do wonder where Morse and Lizzie would do their planning - Alice Russell in her Inquest testimony said she 'had not seen Morse for years before.'

In your opinion, why do you think Morse would organise these murders? If her welfare isn't the motive, then what would his motive be?

When first reading the Inquest transcript I was very struck by Lizzie's reaction when Knowlton questions her about Morse. This was before I read the Lincoln, and I think many people sense that Lizzie is in difficulty during the Morse questions. The theorists go so far as to say this proves she and Morse conspired - which of course, it doesn't. There could be other reasons for it. I see signs that Morse was soft on Lizzie. I wonder if she found him so abhorrent her vanity dictated she distance herself from Morse to the maximum - regardless of any murder trial!

The one thing I'd like to know if it's true is the newspaper report of Lizzie sending Detective Hanscom to Iowa to have her uncle 'investigated'! Do you know if that's true?

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby KGDevil » Wed May 10, 2017 5:29 pm

What evidence do we have exactly that William A. Davis would have wanted to be an accomplice to a murder that he did not profit from in any way? Other than the fact that he was was friends with John V. Morse, and he had some skill as a butcher? What exactly makes this man a candidate to be a murderer? Is there anything else? If this is all that is needed to implicate someone in a murder, what do we know of any of the people that John Morse visited in the evening, or morning, just before?

He had known the Davis family for many years. And he had kept up correspondence with them even after he had moved out West to Iowa. According to his testimony we know that on July 10, 1892 he and Mr. Davis's daughter "hired a horse" and drove over that afternoon to Fall River. Where they picked up Emma and "went down to the steamboat." He returned Emma home after dark. He seems to be on very good terms with the entire family. So, there really isn't anything disturbing about him wanting to stay with his friend if he truly was sick. Because do we not want to spend time with people we care about who most likely do not have long to live?

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Franz » Fri May 12, 2017 5:35 am

Hey KGDevil! I agree that every murderer gains (or should gain) some profit by his/her murder. Anyway, I categorically refuse to accept the idea that this profit must be able to be measured materially, or in other words, in money. People kill certainly for money, but not Always.
"Mr. Morse, when you were told for the THIRD time that Abby and Andrew had been killed, why did you pronounce a "WHAT" to Mrs. Churchill? Why?"

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby InterestedReader » Fri May 12, 2017 8:16 am

KGDevil wrote:If this is all that is needed to implicate someone in a murder, what do we know of any of the people that John Morse visited in the evening, or morning, just before?



We could come at this even more obliquely. Did Morse's presence in the house attract someone there? It might be a madman. It might be anyone who knew Morse however tangentially, in what sounds like a broad scope of acquaintance. Morse doesn't need to be the instigator. Someone came looking for Morse with less than friendly intentions, he ran into Abby and it just got worse from there. Morse might have suspicions as to who this could be, which is why as soon as he returns to the house he's wittering on about murderers hiding in homes overnight and how he thought he saw the back cellar door unlocked. He might feel horrified and responsible, while innocent of any direct involvement.

I appreciate the odds are against it, a killer getting through that house and up the front stairs to the room where Morse slept, but some pretty weird things sometimes happen by chance. A sneaky maniac is no more improbable than a butcher swanning in to kill by appointment.

It's an easy inference to see Morse behind the murders because it's Morse who shows up at the self-same time. I personally think he wouldn't 'plan' to be put on the spot like this, not for a minute, not with only half a brain. Yes his presence is probably the biggest 'break in the pattern' of routine, but it seems to be an unexplored area, the possibility his presence attracted some lunatic.

If Lizzie killed Abby Borden we readily understand why it happened in that room. Also, the difficulty any intruder would face in accessing the 'Guest Room' weighs significantly into the supposition of Lizzie's guilt.
But if we suppose that an intruder did kill Abby Borden, the location becomes extremely interesting. He might ascend the stairs looking for a refuge, ignorant of the fact he could get no further into the body of the house. (There's only the option of Lizzie's door, which is locked, according to Lizzie's testimony.) An intruder, we assume, wouldn't know Morse occupied this room - but how certain can we be in this assumption? After all, anyone could stand by the house and see Morse raise his window when he rose early around 5am - but that same person might fail to see Morse leave hours later by the back door. He might see Borden leave but fail to see Morse leave, then access the house looking for Morse...

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby KGDevil » Fri May 12, 2017 1:27 pm

So, a killer comes looking for Morse at the Borden home a day after he shows up there when no one was expecting him to arrive there, let alone spend the night?

And they snuck into the home to kill Morse when he wasn't there?

Then stick around to kill Andrew, but leave before killing Morse.

He comes to kill Morse and only kills two people who obviously aren't Morse? Attacking Andrew, who obviously wasn't Morse, as he slept instead of escaping?

I dont think any of those scenarios sound plausible to me. About as plausible as a respectable and well loved member of the community like William A. Davis conspiring to help kill the Bordens for no apparent reason other than John was his friend, and he knew the butcher trade.

Or the killer calling Morse at the Emery's to let him know, via a live female operator connecting the call on an 1890's phone, to let him know the deed was done.



"In the 1880s and 1890s women telephone operators often served the same small group of customers every day. This created an intimacy between client and customer as customers grew to recognize operators’ voices and know them as people. In many areas, operators could be counted on to have all sorts of information at hand, such as the names and addresses of local customers, the latest news, weather, and sports results, the correct time of day, and even gossip."

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby InterestedReader » Fri May 12, 2017 3:19 pm

Well, I've no investment in the idea. I was just kicking it around.
I imagine the police did look into Morse's life. You quoted Isaac Davis saying how appalled he was that Morse should be held in suspicion - his words seem to imply it's more than just the gossips at work.

I didn't suggest, and I wasn't envisaging, an intruder come with express intent to kill. Why would anyone plan a murder for broad daylight on a busy street?

No, I don't for a moment think there was a hired killer or that Davis was involved or he phoned Morse to say it was done. So it's Lizzie or a rogue lunatic. And this seems a fairly common-sense position, compared to some.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Franz » Thu May 18, 2017 10:41 am

InterestedReader wrote:I'm sure you've understood me perfectly, Franz!

It's me who fails to understand the reasoning behind this 'theory'.

Say I am Morse, with 60 years experience under my belt, and for whatever reason I decide these two people will be executed - wouldn't I arrange for it to be done when Lizzie isn't there and not when she is? Do these theorists disdain simplicity? Have them killed when she's in New Bedford with alibis watching her crochet and Lizzie Borden would never come to trial. If it's Morse's Plan, then doesn't he worry she might be traumatised for life? Or if Lizzie and Morse are collaborating, they can have the Bordens killed while she's fishing in Marion. Was it not the habit of Mr and Mrs Borden to go over to the Swansea farm? Why not kill them there, where it was quiet, without all the traffic of the Second St thoroughfare? My point is, it really would be a better Plan if Lizzie were not in the house. That's all. Otherwise we have a plan which is reckless and unlikely to be successful, however super-subtle the 'staging'. Also I do wonder where Morse and Lizzie would do their planning - Alice Russell in her Inquest testimony said she 'had not seen Morse for years before.'

In your opinion, why do you think Morse would organise these murders? If her welfare isn't the motive, then what would his motive be?

When first reading the Inquest transcript I was very struck by Lizzie's reaction when Knowlton questions her about Morse. This was before I read the Lincoln, and I think many people sense that Lizzie is in difficulty during the Morse questions. The theorists go so far as to say this proves she and Morse conspired - which of course, it doesn't. There could be other reasons for it. I see signs that Morse was soft on Lizzie. I wonder if she found him so abhorrent her vanity dictated she distance herself from Morse to the maximum - regardless of any murder trial!

The one thing I'd like to know if it's true is the newspaper report of Lizzie sending Detective Hanscom to Iowa to have her uncle 'investigated'! Do you know if that's true?


I hope to have understood you well this time. :grin:

1) I would like to start with a question: there was a significant interval of time between the death of Abby and that of Andrew (this point is generally accepted as a fact and has never been seriously questioned): could this interval have been intentional? If it could have been so, then this hypothesis is, in my opinion, in coherence with another one: Morse might have been the architect of the double murder. He might have wished that the couple dead in that chrnological way, this chronology being in Borden sisters' favour riguarding the wealth of the family. If all this is possibile, then it would be difficult to imagine an opportunity to kill the couple out of their house (who know where) that might garantee the same interval of time. No question neither to kill them during the night, always in the house, because you must kill them at the same time, and in the second place, Morse should be present in the house the night, and he would have drawn more suspision. On the contrary, to kill them in the (inside of the) house would be a better choice, because Andrew usually went out the morning for his business activities, Abby at home, so first to kill her at home, then, when Andrew returned, to kill him afterwards. The interval of time would be clearly established.

2) To kill them in the house would run some risk, it's very true. But here our fountamental hypothesis is that Morse was the architect of the murder plan. He knew well the routine of the family: And what happened? Abby was killed in the guestroom, a room where Bridget never went into, and the last room that Lizzie mgiht adventure to go, in comparison with Parlor, dinging room, sitting room, kitchen, etc.

3) Yes, Lizzie was there. But please remember that in that day someone was indeed absent: Emma. So Morse might have chosen one of those days when Emma was not at home. Maybe it was not easy for Morse to find a time when the two sisters were both out of the house. I think that if Morse were really guilty, he chose, yes not the perfect occasion but anyway the best occasion he could find to realize his plan.

4) For Lizzie's investigating her uncle. Well, I certainly can't verify if the newspapers' reports were true or not. But if it were not true (something so serious, so significant in that moment), Lizzie and Emma, from their part, should have publicly denied the report's content. If they didn't do such a thing, then I accept that the newspapers' report, and all reports of this kind of that time, should be considered as reliable.
"Mr. Morse, when you were told for the THIRD time that Abby and Andrew had been killed, why did you pronounce a "WHAT" to Mrs. Churchill? Why?"

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby KGDevil » Thu May 18, 2017 1:30 pm

Franz, you have never given any believable motive, in my opinion, for why John Morse would want his brother in law and his wife dead.

You hinge all of your suspicion on John Morse saying "What?" People do strange things in the face of a tragedy. I have recently gone through something extremely traumatic myself. These family issues I have been dealing with. I can tell you I walked around in a total fog at first. I was unable to think of even the simplest thing like my own phone number. Or where I had left my phone that I had just been using. I repeated myself quite a lot because what had happened what just so unbelievable that it defied my logic at the time. I couldn't wrap my head around it. I did not know how to associate it with my reality. Everytime someone said something to me about it I had to try to wrap my head around it all over again to answer. I said "What?" alot because it was so hard to focus that I lost track of what anyone was saying. None of it seemed real. It felt like a dream. Even to the doctors and emergency responders I kept saying "What?" And I was there when it happened. And I am not guilty of anything in regards to what happened. It was a freak accident.

I don't think having two people that you were so intimately acquainted with be murdered is an idea you get used to hearing in the space of five minutes.

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Re: Hired Assassin

Postby Franz » Fri May 19, 2017 5:22 am

KGDevil wrote:Franz, you have never given any believable motive, in my opinion, for why John Morse would want his brother in law and his wife dead.

You hinge all of your suspicion on John Morse saying "What?" People do strange things in the face of a tragedy. I have recently gone through something extremely traumatic myself. These family issues I have been dealing with. I can tell you I walked around in a total fog at first. I was unable to think of even the simplest thing like my own phone number. Or where I had left my phone that I had just been using. I repeated myself quite a lot because what had happened what just so unbelievable that it defied my logic at the time. I couldn't wrap my head around it. I did not know how to associate it with my reality. Everytime someone said something to me about it I had to try to wrap my head around it all over again to answer. I said "What?" alot because it was so hard to focus that I lost track of what anyone was saying. None of it seemed real. It felt like a dream. Even to the doctors and emergency responders I kept saying "What?" And I was there when it happened. And I am not guilty of anything in regards to what happened. It was a freak accident.

I don't think having two people that you were so intimately acquainted with be murdered is an idea you get used to hearing in the space of five minutes.


1. You are right. I ignore for which motive Morse might have done all this, but this doesn't mean that I have no right to suspect Morse (since it is not my duty to prove Morse's guilt, what I do here is only to say what I think about the case). In the real life how many times does it happen that before the murderer is identified and his/her guilt proved, the people ignore his/her motive? and when the murderer confesses all, people, astonished, surprised, disorientated, say: what? you killed for such a reason? (Indeed for Morse's motive I have some idea, and posted a thread here.)

2. You are wrong: I don't hinge ALL of my suspicions on John Morse saying "what?", as you said, I have many other reasons that I have explained in the forum.

3. People so intimately acquainted... well, we can have people very much intimately acquainted as friends, or as enemies as well, or friends to become enemies just in five minutes, or enemies to become friends in just only one. Such things happen every day in every corner of the world.
Last edited by Franz on Fri May 19, 2017 5:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Mr. Morse, when you were told for the THIRD time that Abby and Andrew had been killed, why did you pronounce a "WHAT" to Mrs. Churchill? Why?"

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