To Hell I Must Go: The True Story of Michigan’s Lizzie Borden by Rod Sadler

I found this to be a really fascinating, small-town, true crime story from back in 1897 in Williamston, Michigan, a township or village not much different than the one I grew up in, just in a different county in Michigan. I found the writing to be quite adequate and the story more than terrifying. The author, a retired police officer himself, has a personal tie to the town and the story, as his great-grandfather, J.J. Rehle was the sheriff of Ingham County back the time of this murder. While he was doing research for the book, his father arranged for the cousin who has the badge, gun and other artifacts of the old sheriff to be brought over so they could be enjoyed and photographed, etc. That added to the story, I felt.

The murder revolves around two women living in the same house, Martha Haney, Mariah Haney, her mother-in-law. The third person is Martha’s husband, Mariah’s son Alfy Haney. Martha has a long history of mental problems that Alfy wasn’t really aware of before he married her. This leads to a lot of strife between the women when Alfy’s mom Mariah moves in with the couple. Before long the women hate each other and Alfy is caught in the middle of it every day. The strain also adds to the deterioration of Martha’s mental state. When the murder happens, Alfy is away working, and it’s more explosive and gruesome then anyone can imagine. It shocks the entire town and becomes a part of Michigan’s history…


Publisher: Outskirts Press – 163 pages
Publication: April 29th, 2015
RATING: 4/5 Stars

The Author Rod Sadler is a 30-year veteran police officer, having grown up in the small town of Williamston, Michigan. He spent over ten years researching information about this murder including court documents, original handwritten eyewitness statements, books, photos, maps, and news articles. His great grandfather spearheaded the investigation while serving as the Ingham County Sheriff in 1897. Having retired in 2012, Rod and his wife, Terri, live in the Lansing area with their three children, Alex, Austin and Andy.


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