Notorious ax-murder suspect Lizzie Borden will haunt the final weeks of a public speaking course at Cayuga Community College. And she'll attract high-powered counsel. Cayuga County Assistant District Attorney Brian Bauersfeld will coach student prosecutors preparing to re-try Borden in the classroom. Ryan Muldoon, criminal defense attorney with the firm of Williams, Heinl, Moody and Buschman, will guide the defense team.
For the Small Group Discussion course, instructor James Delaney is assigning his students to legal teams for and against conviction. The students will research the 1892 murder of Borden's father and stepmother, who were slain in the family home with repeated hatchet blows after the father had given his grown daughters' summer retreat to an uncle.
As guest speakers in the class on April 20, the two attorneys will share their insights on team strategy in criminal trials. The student groups will have the remaining three weeks of the course to prepare their opposing cases and present them to a student jury, who will then deliberate and render a verdict.
To enable the students to apply current state laws, Delaney took a few liberties with the famous incident, moving it from Fall River, Massachusetts, to New York and from the late 19th century to the 21st. The original trial ended with Borden's acquittal; no other suspect was ever arrested.