Lizzie and the Cornells

Lizzie and the Cornells

A recent spate of online articles (here, here, and here) are appearing about UC Irvine neuroscientist James Fallon’s discovery of his relationship to a murderer and an accused but acquitted killer as well. The reason this is somehow significant is that Fallon is currently conducing research and lecturing on the biological traits of murderers. He has correctly identified 30 killers out of a 70 subject experiment by studying the brain scans of the individuals.

This is the interesting part:

A cousin had done some sleuthing, and Fallon learned of eight potential killers among his ancestors, starting with Thomas Cornell, who was hanged in 1673 for murdering his mother — the first case of matricide in colonial America. Lizzie Borden, who was tried but acquitted in the hatchet deaths of her father and stepmother in 1892, is a distant cousin in that same Cornell branch.

Unfortunately, Dr. Fallon is only partly correct in is genealogical research. It has never been proven that Lizzie is related to Thomas Cornell, even though the Cornell family website claims that it is so.

If you read the expert research presented by Kat Koorey on the Lizzie Borden Society Forum, you will see that the Cornells are misidentifying Innocent Cornell with Innocent Wardell. Same first names, different last names. There simply isn’t a connection.


So while Dr. Fallon may be related to Thomas Cornell, he is not related to Lizzie. Which is good news to those who feel that justice was served that day in 1893 when Lizzie Borden was acquitted.

Oh, and the funny part, Fallen admits, is that he has the same scan as the psychopathic killers. Apparently, nurture has a great influence on whether one will kill or not.

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