Joe Madza’ s just too nice a guy to be playing old Uncle John, Lizzie Borden’s so-called peculiar relative.  John, who stayed in the guest room where Abby Borden would be murdered the next day has always been a somewhat sinister personality. Many think John knew about the murders, helped to plan and assist the assailant, or maybe even had a hand in it himself!  His alibis were nearly too perfect.  The only thing not clear was a motive.

pearbwJoe ‘s interest in the case began with a vengeance after viewing the 1975 Elizabeth Montgomery television film when he was a college freshman. “I was both admiring and appalled at the same time that a woman could do such a thing.”  Many applaud Lizzie’s grit in getting what she wanted and then soothe their conscience by saying the elderly Bordens were not nice and probably deserved what they got!  “We have to somehow justify approving of murder,” Joe says sheepishly.

The Victorian and Egyptian eras have a great resonance for Joe- and he wonders if reincarnation is so far-fetched.  “I felt right at home the first time I stepped into the Borden House- I had come home again.” 

When asked whose eyes he would have liked to have been looking through on the day of the murders, he responded immediately,

“Addie Churchill’s!  She was the very first on the scene, and she saw something important that day- something she would not tell.  It must have been an eyeful because she never told what it was”.

As to the killer, Joe has no doubt it was Lizzie- all the way, and solo-although others in the house and neighbors on the street knew more than they were willing to tell about the situation in the family and what they saw and heard that day.  Joe also agrees with the theory that Abby was the intended victim and Andrew was just unfortunate in coming home at the wrong time before Lizzie could concoct a reasonable alibi for the time of Abby’s murder. 

 “His was a killing of self-preservation for Lizzie- because who would have known better who could have killed Mrs. Borden and why?”

Joe has researched his character inside and out for his portrayal Tuesday.

“I don’t like Morse- I don’t think he was a very lovable man or a nice one,” Joe admits candidly. “He did not seem surprised at Abby’s death, and his behavior watching and taking it all in while eating pears under the trees in the back yard seems unnatural behavior”.

 But the chance to don a fake gray beard and look “peculiar” and sinister under the pear trees was a role too good to miss!  When Joe is not time traveling to 1892, he is an eighth grade teacher in Warren, Ohio teaching science and gifted students.  I’d bet he’s a favorite with the kids!

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