Blood Evidence

By Kat Koorey
From The Preliminary Hearing in the Borden Case before Judge Blaisdell, August 25 through September 1, 1892, Fall River, MA: Fall River Historical Society.

Dr. Dolan Testifies

Sitting Room
Andrew Borden
Pg. 93-98:
“There was very little blood on his [Andrew Borden] clothing, except on his bosom, his shirt bosom, and of course the back where the blood ran down, that is, in the back of his cardigan, and his clothes were soaked, where it had run down from his face to the lounge, as it lay on the lounge.

[The principal flow of blood was] Through the lounge on to the floor, after going through the pillow and his coat.

There was not a great deal [of blood] on the floor. It was dropping when I was there, dropping from the lounge in two places on to the carpet.

. . . from the head of the sofa it was dripping down on to the carpet [under the sofa].

Yes, it was under, near the back wall.

[All the blood found] Taking first the wall behind the sofa, there were in one cluster of spots, as it were, radiating, describing the arc of a circle, there were seventy eight blood spots.

Those were immediately behind his head going and dropping towards the east on the wall [above the sofa].

[Dr. Dolan checks original notes]

. . . I said seventy eight; I believe there were eighty six spots. The highest of those of that particular cluster I think were three feet seven inches from the floor.

They were over the back of the lounge eighty six of them, in one cluster, as I say, describing the arc of a circle from the west, east that is, from the parlor door towards the kitchen door.

[Beginning] I should say not over three or four inches east of his head [and describing a semi circle].

[in. . . cluster] Some very minute, some the size of a pin head, others were the size of a pea, and varying from that. Those will probably illustrate the two limits [on the wall paper].

I then found on the paper above the head of the lounge, the highest spot except one upon the ceiling; that was six feet one and three quarters inches from the floor.

[above the head] and a little to the back, if any.

A little to the west of the head. There were two of them. There was a quarter of an inch difference. The lower one, the one immediately lower than that, was six feet one inch and a half. I take notice of those two, because there were two of the largest spots to be found.

Those spots, I did not exactly measure them, but they must have been half an inch in their longest axis by quarter of an inch in width.

[in the immediate neighborhood of them] Further along towards the east on this picture, a picture framed and suspended above the sofa [towards the man’s feet].

On that picture and frame were in all forty spots. The highest spot there was fifty eight inches from the floor.

[not distributed with any sort of regularity] They were more as though shooting directly upward, that is, diagonally from the head [towards the east, towards the feet].

On the moulding around the mop board that goes around the walls there were five spots.

Five spots that is, on the moulding that is behind the lounge. The first one was seven and a half inches east of the door jamb, east of the east side of the door jamb. The next was seven and three-quarters inches [behind the lounge. . . could not see them until. . . took the lounge away].

[The back of the lounge was between these spots and where the man was, where the head was].

I think from the base of the mop board to the top of the moulding was seven and three-quarters inches. . . On top of the moulding.

I found the carpet underneath the head of the lounge in two spots two pools there of blood. I found on the parlor door west of the head of the lounge about seven drops, that is on the door and on the jamb [the door that goes from the sitting room into the parlor].

I think about five feet [from the head]. I did not measure it accurately.

. . . one very large one in the center division of the upper two panels of the door.

Between five and six feet [from the floor].

The top one was quite a large one.

[mean by quite large] Taking the one I told you above the lounge as the biggest one, about half an inch in length, this would be about two-thirds the size of that.

We saw two spots upon the ceiling immediately above, not exactly above the head of the lounge. I do not think it was human blood; I think it was some insect that had been killed there. There was another spot Mr. Jennings and myself saw that was in all probability human. That would be from the head westward about a foot or eighteen inches westward on the ceiling.

I found one on the west door, the jamb of the door leading from the sitting room into the dining room.

I did not measure it. I should judge from twelve to fourteen inches [from the floor].

It was not a spot, it was a string, as it were, of blood. Instead of being a spot of blood, that was long, it would probably measure, if drawn out, two inches or two and a half inches [a spatter on the dining room side].*

Where the dining room door opens, that is, as you go from the sitting room into the dining room, the door opens to the east therefore the jamb where the door shuts in would be on the west side of the door. Taking it where the door fits into that niche, I do not know the technical term for it, beginning there, and then stringing from there on the inside downward. It was higher where the door closes than it was on the inside of the dining room.*

[on the door to the kitchen] there were two spots. I have not got that note. If I remember correctly, I think one was three feet one inch from the floor in the groove in the division of the door. There was another one about six inches from the floor on the door proper, about quarter of an inch from the casing of the door.

The one in the groove was a medium spot. I could not give you the measurement.

. . . near a pea [size]; it was probably the size of a huckleberry, a small huckleberry.

. . . not as large as a pea, I qualified that.

[the spot on the sitting room door differed from the other spots. . . found] All the others were spots, were real spots, you could tell from the way they struck. They drew down just as a spot of water on a piece of paper would do where it struck. It made a larger spot and pressed downward and made a neck. The other one there was a line, without much width.*

It could be made by swinging from an instrument used in murdering Mr. Borden.*

Pg. 124:
I could not say [as to whether the blood had coagulated on this hair cloth sofa].

[the blood] ran in between the back and the side [of the sofa. . . on to the floor. . . without going through. . . where the upholstery is].

. . . it did not go there [front side of sofa, towards the front of the room] at all.

Pg. 161-162:
[If you project a fluid body] If you strike it against a surface, the same as that wall there, the big end would be above [nearest to me].

[throw a fluid, the force of the fluid being upwards, and it goes upon the wall, the direction being from below] The big end will be nearest the bottom.

[throw it from above down, the big end of the spot be] On the top.

. . . for instance in an operation a little spurting artery would spread against the wall [the larger end indicates the direction from which the fluid came].

*[The Trial of Lizzie A. Borden, report by Frank Burt, New Bedford, MA., June 5-20, 1893, Testimony by Dr. Edward Wood, pg. 1010-1011:

“Next that dining room door frame. I noticed this in Fall River myself. While it was standing in this shape; and the room fairly dark, so that I thought from an inspection of that, as I saw it, in the door frame itself. . . I thought it looked like a blood stain… But upon examination of that it is seen to be a distinctly yellow stain, which, on being tested, is not a blood stain. It looks like a stain containing some colored material, like tobacco juice or something of that sort; not necessarily that, it might be soup. . . not blood.”]

Dr. Dolan Testifies

Guest Room
Abby Borden

Pg. 103-105
Under her head, and pretty well down on her breast, she was lying in a pool of clotted blood, quite dark, as if it had been there sometime. It was not in the fluid condition that Mr. Borden’s was.

The front of the clothing was very much soaked, that is, down to the chest, and also the back, down about half way, of course going right through to her underclothing.

On the pillow sham, immediately above, about a foot or eighteen inches in front were about three spots. On the rail of the bed I should judge there would be from thirty to forty, probably fifty spots of blood.

Those on the shams were forward ones, about a foot or eighteen inches on the sham. The direction was forward from the head [nearer the wall].

[She was lying on the floor with her head towards the east wall] Probably four or five feet- four feet [from the east wall].

[Those were on the pillow shams some eighteen inches nearer the wall than her head. . . and that distance from her head].

[the direction of those on the wall] They were lateral first; they were direct, as if spattered directly against it. On the drawers of the dressing case, I presume they were swelled and could not be put in their whole length, on the projection of them, on the uppermost drawer, there were three or four spots. I think on the second one there were six or seven spots, quite large ones, as if they had gone up in the air and had fallen down.

On the moulding, the piece of moulding east of the north window, that is the moulding that caps the mop board, about five or six inches from the casing, there was a spot of blood.

On the moulding that caps the mop board. Above that, about two feet, there was a spot on the paper.

From the head they would be between six and seven feet at an angle, that is, the dressing case formed an angle, the body lying here, the spots were over here.

There was a straight line, but the dressing case intervened [No uninterrupted straight line].

I found on the east wall that is up against the head of the bed, where the head of the bed was, I found three or four spots there on the wall, and some on the moulding of the mop board.

Pg. 116:
[She was lying with both hands] more extended over the head, as it were, not over it, but around the head.

Yes but not resting on the arms; the head in a circle.

Pg. 197:
I am glad you spoke of that chair that is lacking from the photograph. There was a kind of camp chair, you might call it, an upholstered chair between her head and the east wall; and the feet of that were covered with blood.

[at the end of the bureau between the bureau and the window] I think there was a cane seated chair.

[work basket] immediately in front of this chair.

. . . I think it was a rocking chair up against the bureau, and then the basket was sitting on the other ordinary cane seated chair, opposite.

[The other chair was on the other side of the window in front of it] and the sewing machine behind it.

Dr. Dolan Testifies

Questioned by Mr. Adams
Lizzie’s Clothing

Pg. 168:
Q: Was any clothing given to you?
A: Yes sir.
Q: Who gave it to you?
A: I think Mr. Jennings
Q: Where did he get it?
A: I don’t know. He said he got it from Miss Lizzie Borden.
Q: What was it, a dress skirt and an under white skirt?
A: Yes sir and her waist.
Q: Did you examine them?
A: Yes sir.
Q: Did you find some blood on them?
A: One blood spot on the skirt.
Q: How big was it?
A: The size of a good pin head.
Q: That is on the white underskirt?
A: Yes sir.
Q: Do you know whether it came from without, in, or from inside out?
A: From without, in.
Q: How do you know that?
A: Simply because the meshes of the cloth on the outside were filled with blood, and it had hardly penetrated on the inside.

Dr. Dolan Testifies

Questioned by Mr. Adams
Bloody Cloths

Pg. 188:
Q: Do you remember a pail in the cellar?
A: Yes Sir
Q: And were there some clothes or napkins in that pail?
A: Yes Sir, three.
Q: Did you examine them?
A: I examined them casually.
Q: Did you take them?
A: No sir.
Q: Were they taken by anybody?
A: By the officer, officer Mullaly I think I told to take them.
Q: What was subsequently done with them, if you know?
A: Nothing; they were left down stairs in the marshal’s office, and nothing further done with them.

Dr. Dolan Testifies

Questioned by Mr. Adams
Bloody Clothing

Pg. 189:
Q: There was of course clothing which was found on the bodies of both Mr. and Mrs. Borden, that clothing has not been talked about at all; but I believe it was at one time put in the earth back of the barn?
A: Yes Sir
Q: That is to say, the clothing was buried without any envelope or box the first time?
A: I was not there, but I understand that to be so.
Q: Then it was taken up, and examined and buried again?
A: Yes Sir, put into a box.
Q: When it was buried again, it was put into a wooden box?
A: Yes Sir.
Q: It was taken up two or three times?
A: Twice I think.
Q: What has become of that clothing?
A: It is down stairs.
Q: In the marshal’s office?
A: Yes Sir.
Q: Is all the clothing that was found on the bodies of each there?
A: Yes Sir.

Prof. Edward S. Wood Testifies

Questioned by Mr. Knowlton
Trial Testimony

Page 1004
. . . The white skirt, this one, contains a small blood spot on a line—it is 16 inches to the left of this line from the placket hole to the bottom of the skirt, and six inches from the bottom of the skirt. It is this stain here, a portion of which I have cut out, but I have left there about one-quarter or one-third of the complete stain, and it can only be seen by careful inspection. I had to make a larger hole in the cloth in order to avoid removing the whole of the blood spot, it was so small. This blood spot was about one-sixteenth of an inch in diameter, about the size of the diameter of the head of a small pin, not a large pin nor a medium size pin, but a small pin, and it appeared to me to be a little bit more extensive and plainer on the outside of the skirt than on the inside. I don’t

Page 1005
know as that could be detected now because it has been rubbed so much, but at that time it was perceptible when the stain was whole. That I examined and found it to be a blood stain, and the blood corpuscles when examined with a high power of the microscope averaged in measurement 1-3243 of an inch. That is the average measurement within the limits of human blood, and it is therefore consistent with its being a human blood stain.
Q. With the blood of what other animal would it be consistent?
A. There are some other animals, mostly of the—not domestic animals, which have the same diameter within the human limits, like seal and opossum, and one variety of guinea pig. The rabbit comes pretty near and the dog comes pretty near.
Q. What inference do you draw, if any, from the fact that the blood was, as you stated, I think, thicker upon the outside of the skirt than upon the inside?
A. A little larger in diameter, a little more upon the outside. It shows that it probably came on to the skirt from the outside of the skirt and not from the inside.
Q. What is the next step, Professor, that you had to do with the case?
A. Next the carpets. First, the sitting-room carpet. This corner piece was a rectangular piece, that is, this corner piece was on the carpet when I received it. That I have cut out myself, and it contained these two large dried pools of blood, this one here being almost six inches in length by about two inches in width, and with a projection of

Page 1006
small blood spots to one side. This carpet was somewhere near the head of the sofa, as I remember seeing it. This one is more of a triangular pool of blood, which is about three inches in each leg of the triangle. That was, of course, determined to be blood, and the average diameter of the blood globules removed from one of the stains —
Q. Perhaps it will be just as well to say, was it consistent with human blood?
A. Consistent with human blood,—1-3243 of an inch. Next this carpet, which is of a similar texture contained rolled up in it, and I received it, a piece of switch of false hair which was matted with blood thoroughly. We noticed that this carpet was stained upon the under side as well as the upper side with blood, a mass of dried blood. I omitted to mention that the heavy carpet was also stained through.
Q. As it is now?
A. As it is now.
Q. Did you take the spots from this carpet also?
A. I did. I cut out that piece of the corner which is gone.
Q. Did you make any experiments upon those pieces of carpet with reference to blood?
A. Simply in order to see whether blood would dry with equal rapidity upon one carpet as the other, I opened an artery in the leg of a dog, and let about an ounce or two of blood flow upon both pieces of carpet, and I found that they absorbed with equal rapidity.
Q. The blood dried with equal rapidity?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. So there is nothing in the fibre of those carpets which would cause any difference in the coagulation of the blood?

Page 1007
A. So far as I could determine in that experiment.
Q. What was the next matter that came to your attention?
A. The lounge cover. That had a stain which looked very much like a blood stain, but it proved not to be a blood stain. Here is the stain right here, a portion of it. It looks very much indeed like a blood stain, but it is not. I don’t know what it is. It is easily seen.
Q. At any rate, there is no blood on it?
A. No blood on it, no, sir; probably iron rust. That is the envelope with the hair of Andrew J. Borden; simply contained a lock of hair which was matted with blood partly, and the blood examined was of course, consistent with its being human blood, measuring 1-3243 of an inch. The hair from Mrs. Borden was a lock of dark iron gray hair matted with blood, the blood also measuring 1-3243 of an inch. That is all I received from Dr. Dolan at that time.
Q. Let me ask right here, did you examine the floor of the sitting-room at any time for blood spots?
A. On the morning of August 10th I was there and made a very superficial examination.
Q. Of the carpet in front of the sofa?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And how was the surface of the carpet, did you examine?
A. I examined the carpet of the whole room in front of the sofa so far as I could, and there was very good light in the room.
Q. What did you find?
A. I couldn’t find anything.
Q. You found no blood spots?
A. I found no blood spots in front of the sofa beyond those that are there.
Q. Who was with you in that examination?
A. Dr. Dolan.

compiled and transcribed by Kat Koorey © 2002 Kat Koorey