Lizzie Borden was involved in four legal proceedings; in only one did she give direct testimony. That was during the inquest, and it was on the basis of that strange testimony, partly curt and partly digressive, that she was held over for a grand jury hearing, a preliminary hearing and finally, the murder trial itself.
The inquest was held on August 10, 1892, six days after the murder. It was suspended by Judge Blaisell the following day. Presumably, he had heard enough to have Lizzie arrested that night. Lizzie Borden's inquest testimony is important because it is the only legal record of her view of the facts that fateful morning of August 4. However, her view of the facts as an eye witness to the events of the day only added more confusion to the mystery. Her comments started out dryly enough. When Prosecuting Attorney Knowlton asked, "Were you always cordial with your stepmother?" Lizzie countered, "That depends upon one's idea of cordiality ." When asked to elaborate, Lizzie embarked on a free-form stream of consciousness, making it difficult to follow her train of thought:
I always went to my sister. She was older than I was. I don't know but that my father and stepmother were happily united. I never knew of any difficulty between them, and they seemed to be affectionate. The day they were killed I had on a blue dress. I changed it in the afternoon and put on a print dress. Mr. Morse came into our house whenever he wanted to. He has been here once since the river was frozen over. I don't know how often he came to spend the nights, because I had been away so much. I have not been away much during the year.
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