The trial of Lizzie Andrew Borden was held from June 5 to June 20th, 1893, in New Bedford, Mass. The presiding judges were Chief Justice Albert Mason, Justice Caleb Blodgett, and Justice Justin Dewey [see Cast of Characters for additional details].
Hosea Knowlton, District Attorney of Fall River, was directed by State Attorney Arthur Pillsbury to lead the prosecution, and assigned William Moody, District Attorney of Essex County, to assist him. Besides Lizzie Borden herself, William Moody was to become the most famous participant of the trial. He was later elected three times to Congress, and, most notably, served under President Theodore Roosevelt as Secretary of the Navy and later as Attorney General of the United States. In 1906, Roosevelt appointed Moody a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Lizzie’s defense team was comprised of Andrew Jennings, one of Fall River’s most prominent citizens and Andrew Borden’s lawyer. His younger colleagues were Melvin O. Adams and Arthur Sherman Phillips who was later to pen the three volume History of Fall River. The dream team’s most famous member, however, was ex-governor George Dexter Robinson. In what today might be considered a conflict of interest, one of the three justices to hear the murder trial was Justice Justin Dewey, whom Robinson, while governor, had appointed to the Superior Court.
At 3:24 on June 20, 1893, the jury was given the case and instructed to carry out their deliberations. A little over an hour later, at 4:32, the jury returned with its verdict and Lizzie was found not guilty and acquitted of the crime of murdering her father and stepmother.
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