Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Betty Broderick, Convicted Double Murderer, Eligible for Parole

UPDATE: Elisabeth "Betty" Broderick has been denied parole for her conviction of fatally shooting her husband and his new wife. During the Jan. 21 hearing, which was heard two months earlier than originally scheduled, Broderick told the California parole board, "I allowed the voices in my head to completely take over. I took the lives of two wonderful people who were loved by many." After board members asked for details of the shooting in which Broderick shot the couple using a .38 caliber handgun, she told them, "Linda [the new wife] came at me and the gun went off." After the no-parole ruling, Richard Sachs, a San Diego prosecutor, told CNN that Broderick showed no remorse. The former socialite won't be eligible for parole again for another 15 years.

by Cathy Scott

It’s a new year and a new opportunity for La Jolla socialite Betty Broderick, who in 1989 murdered her ex-husband and his new wife by creeping into the couple’s bedroom before dawn and shooting them as they lay sleeping. Incarcerated since 1991, Betty is eligible for parole this March -- the first time since her second-degree murder conviction and sentence of 32 years to life in a California prison.

In March 1993, I wrote an op-ed piece about the case for the San Diego Union-Tribune. The column, below, is still relevant today:

A final chapter in the Broderick case
March 17, 1993

The never-ending saga of former La Jolla socialite Elisabeth "Betty" Broderick has again surfaced, but this time it's her children who are having the last word. And it is about time.

Three of the four Broderick children are taking their mother to court (Betty was served papers last week in prison). This is the same woman who murdered their father, garnering national attention and, at times, public sympathy after sneaking into her former husband's Marston Hills home and fatally shooting him and his wife in their bedroom. The nation watched the sickening tale unfold on television with Court TV's cable coverage of the trial, two made-for-TV movies, Oprah Winfrey interviews of two of the Broderick children and, on another occasion, Betty, not to mention newspaper accounts of the case. During Oprah's interview last November with Betty Broderick, the divorcée continued to weave the histrionic tale and sob story of a woman scorned. But this time the public knew better.

After all, with the advent of Court TV [now Tru TV], we were able to view her courtroom outbursts firsthand as the second trial aired in its entirety. Meanwhile, all has been quiet on the prison front where Broderick has been incarcerated since her murder conviction in 1991.

But now it's time for the Broderick children to have their day in court. After watching the film The Prince of Tides, I drew some obvious parallels between the fictional Wingo clan and the tragically real Broderick family.

In this motion picture about Tom Wingo and his twin sister trying to deal as adults with the effects of their highly dysfunctional childhoods, actor Nick Nolte says, "I don't know when my parents began their war against each other. But I do know the only prisoners they took were their children." The Broderick children, too, were sadly taken hostage by their parents' hatred for each other and the loathing their mother nurtured over the years for their father.

Besides the two shooting victims, attorney Dan Broderick and Linda Kolkena Broderick, the Broderick children have been horribly victimized. And like the Wingo children, they were dealt a dirty hand to sort out. At the end of The Prince of Tides, Nolte's character says, "I've learned to love my parents and all their hysterical flaws, and that there is no crime too bad that a family can't forgive."

There is, however, a crime the Broderick children can't ever forget, let alone forgive, and that's the cold-blooded murder of their father at the hands of their mother. Kim, the oldest of the Broderick children, who testified against her mother during the second trial, said it best when she told Oprah, "We've been gypped out of a nice life." Betty Broderick, in her most recent interview with Oprah, welled up with tears at the mere mention of her offspring, but shed no tears for Dan, and spoke of him in the present tense.

She referred to her children -- Kim, Lee, Dan and Rhett -- three of whom are grown, by their childhood nicknames of "Lee-Lee" and "Danny."

It's obvious that Broderick still won't let the memories of her self-described once "perfect life" die. Although Broderick seems to believe she is the sole victim in this tragic scenario, her children must live with the loss of their father and stepmother, and deal, at least on a minimal level, with their mother whose selfishness and blind greed forever took him away from them. But now the tables have turned, and Broderick is at her children's mercy. It seems only fitting that her ultimate punishment is at the hands of her offspring who, as she confessed to Oprah, hadn't once visited her in prison.

The reason, she explained, was that it's "a long, dangerous drive" to the Central Women's Facility in Chowchilla where she is serving a 32-year sentence. Despite the title of the CBS movie, "Her Final Fury: Betty Broderick, The Last Chapter," the last chapter in this sad saga appears to be the Broderick children's civil suit.

They will have the last word. Three of her four children (Kim, Dan and Rhett) are asking for more than $20 million dollars each in damages in a wrongful death suit against her. Broderick's attorney, Jack Earley, has stated that Broderick (who quitclaimed her La Jolla condo to her boyfriend) has no assets.

But with her penchant for publicity, she no doubt has a book or two in the making. Deputy District Attorney Kerry Wells, who successfully prosecuted Broderick, couldn't have said it better when she was quoted in the Nov. 2, 1992, issue of People magazine as saying, "I've had my fill of Elisabeth Broderick.

“She was not a battered woman.

“She was getting $16,000 a month alimony.

“She had a million-dollar La Jolla house, a car, a boyfriend.

“I see abused women every day with broken bones and smashed faces.

“Give me a break."


Photos courtesy of The Associated Press.


FleaStiff said...

Oh, the brain cells... I'm trying to recall this case and separate fact from tabloid fiction and advocacy nonsense.

As I recall she was a woman who simply did not want to accept she had been divorced and her husband now had a younger woman. I recall something about her claiming she only went to his house with a gun to talk to him, despite years of his refusal to talk to her. As I recall a young teenage girl who was certainly well-aware of the parental strife gave the mother a key to the father's home and this is what resulted in the man and his new wife/girlfriend being shot (supposedly without premeditation). For some reason there was a great deal of publicity in which the wife was dubbed an abused woman and there was some sort of scorn heaped upon the deceased husband for his having dumped his wife for a younger woman.

So... what happened to that teenage girl? Did she profit financially from anything then? Is she one of the plaintiffs in the current wrongful death action? Is the parole likely to be granted?

Anonymous said...

She stole the key from Kim. I only know this because I read the Wiki entry. She never claimed that she was abused though. She wanted more money. She put him through school and then as soon as he became successful he dumped her.

She should have gotten half the assets but didnt.

No exceuse, but thats what made her so nutso.

Delilah said...

Thanks for this post, not necessarily because of the case, but for the fact that it shows the devastation and chaos left for children to deal with after violence in a family.

They are always the losers and we don't often get to see a glimpse into the pain and suffering the acts of violence create for these "left behind" children.

As stated above, parents like this do make prisoners out of their children. They give them a life sentence for something they had nothing at all to do with.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this update. I hope Betty stays in prison for her actions. She was a selfish woman who deserves no sympathy.

Anonymous said...

There are more ways to be abused than just having a black eye and broken bones. Betty was abused emotionally and psychologically. While this in no way excuses murder, I truly believe that Dan Broderick held the strings and pulled them when he wanted to. It is no wonder she snapped.

Leah said...

I remember BB saying that she couldn't get a top notch attorney who would take Dan on for her, which I find hard to believe. If she'd acted more civil and like an innocent wife who'd sacrificed to put her hubby through school, she might have gotten more of a settlement. She definitely had some mental issues and Dan didn't help his situation by fueling her. He wasn't any better of a parent than she was, the way they used those kids. I don't have any sympathy for either of them.

Anonymous said...


Please, give me a break! Snapped? This psycho put two bullet holes in 2 human beings! Seriously, If I had a million dollar condo, alimony, and beautiful children, AND a BOYFRIEND my ex-husband could wrangle every Playboy Playmate known to man for all I give a crap!!

Betty Broderick was mentally unstable from the start, which is why her husband left her in the first place. Don't let smoke and mirrors erase that simple fact. She is a double murderer and should spend the rest of her pathetic life in jail...even her own kids agree--they've had to spend their lives without their father!


FleaStiff said...

But shouldn't all those stories in the media, particularly those harping on the "discarded for a younger woman" issue, count for something?
She came back from the honeymoon having doubts about the marriage but also pregnant and then later felt regret? Insufficient alimony? Some women don't get that much in a year.

Cathy Scott said...

Anonymous: I agree; Betty was incredibly unstable, and most everyone knew it, including Dan and the Broderick kids. She's where she belongs. The parole hearing should be interesting, especially to see who shows up to speak as to why she should not be paroled.

Unknown said...

Actually, that part about BB not being able to get a good attorney in San Diego is sorta true-Dan Broderick was a BIG gun in SD legal circles and a lot of good lawyers probably didn't want to take him on-BUT Betty also didn't try as hard as she might have. In her mind, Dan couldn't divorce her if she didn't have an attorney. AND she did land two very good attornies-Dan Jaffe in Los Angeles, and Trisha Lake in SD, and screwed around with them so much they both gave up in exasperation.

As for the rest, yeah, Dan and Linda, in many ways, behaved badly towards Betty. Betty, in many ways, behaved badly towards them. All of them, really, needed a reality check. But, a) the way Betty treated her children throughout the divorce and the aftermath was disgusting; and b) neither Dan or Linda deserved to die.

I'm glad to see the kids standing up for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Anon - this is the first anon poster. Yes, I think she snapped. Did I ever say I didn't think she was where she belonged though? Nope. She is in prison for a reason, but there is so much to this story and so many perspectives. Mine is only one of them, and you are certainly welcome to your opinion too. Just your post made me think you were saying I didn't think she should be in jail, but that's not true.

Yes, she had what I would think of as a HUGE amount of alimony coming to her, but then I realize that compared to what she worked so hard for to help Dan in the early years it wasn't what she should have gotten when you look at what he was then pulling in.

And while my opinion is that Dan was a jerk, and Linda was a homewrecking gold digger, that certainly doesn't mean they deserved to die.

Betty certainly could have played her cards so much better, but isn't hindsight always 20/20?
Murder is never the option.

Anonymous said...

Betty Broderick snapped after years of all forms of abuse. She now has gotten 21 years of psychiatric help, she has served her time. Others can comment about how she should stay in prison, but if they have endured years of this kind of abuse, they should not even comment on this.

There are far worse criminals and perverts who, after serving not even as long, are running loose on our streets!

Remember Loeb of the Bobby Franks killing of the century? He got out eventually! Why not Broderick?

Anonymous said...

She was denied parole today.

FleaStiff said...


shthar said...

as ye reap so shall ye sow

Unknown said...


Anonymous said...

I think that Betty Broderick did not receive a fair settlement in my opinion. She was cheated out of half of the assets at the time. If Dan was not so money hungry and selfish and if Linda were not such a gold digging pig, nether of them would be dead I guess. Right? Lesson learned: treat people how you would want to be treated. Don't sleep with married men and give your ex wife the proper settlement.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's hard to read the book "the 12th of Never" and not feel like Dan was a pig, Linda got what she deserved and Betty was a victim...BUT this isn't true, just the result of a good writer. Betty is where she belongs. She is one of those master manipulators and never has to admit that she probably was planning to kill him from the very beginning and was just waiting for him to get rich. It's just that he left her for Linda first. Linda was young and dumb and in love and in the wrong place at the wrong time and got taken down with Dan. He was also just as obsessively attached to Betty as she was to him or he would have just given her a good settlement and been kind and generous to her to circumvent anything. He didn't want her to go on and have a good life either. No one deserves to die this way and I am sad for the two of them; but I clearly see what kind of woman BB is and she is not crazy, she is evil and probably possessed, but that is probably just blaming demons, when truly she was just an evil person from the beginning. I just cannot sympathize with someone who thinks it's ok to play with the idea of murder and then do it.

Anonymous said...

My first husband did those very things to me. I wish at times I had had her courage. Dan was a bastard. I don't condone what she did, but I understand why she did. Unless you have walked in her shoes you have no right to judge her. I've walked in her shoes and even to this day, my children's father and step mother have continued to use our children. I have not seen my daughter in 13 years. I have two grandchildren I have missed watching them grow up.That movie - no one ever talked with Betty or her attorneys - just the prosecutor and Dan's attorney. It was a very one sided untrue and vivious movie. Meridith Baxter Burney should be ashamed for trying to play the part. When you take the time to research Betty, speak with her attorneys and some of the editors from the newspapers covery the story, you will get a bit of difference of opinion. I love her and I support her. I write too her frequently...would any of you like her address - oh any her birthday is November 7th if you want to send her a card.

Anonymous said...

My husband left me for a younger woman too, but i didn't kill them. I believe Betty thought the laws are different if you live in La Jolla. I feel sorry for the children even tho they are adults now. Sad

Cathy Scott said...

To Anonymous July 6:
I'm sorry you had to go through that. The Broderick is a very sad case, especially, as you pointed out, for her children. Betty still believes she did the right thing, so prison is clearly where she belongs. She has no remorse, not even for what it did to her children. As for her kids, they all seemed to weather it well, considering. The boys, the youngest of the four, went to live with their uncle (their father's brother) in a family environment. Dan came from a close-knit family, and the kids benefited from that. ... Thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

As Margaret son stated on Oprah when she was scheduled for parole. He felt that she should be released because the two people she shot were no longer living and Margaret therefore is no longer a threat. I agree with this. It was second degree murder, she has been locked up for over 25 years. She has learned her lesson. It is sad that Margaret had no one to encourage her to engage in activities to boost her confidence and realize that there are better opportunities and men out there who would respect and cherish her. Maybe she would have reacted differently.

Anonymous said...

This is not over, not for her. She made threats to everyone including her oldest daughter. As the parole board said, she is still living in the past and holding on to it. GOD forbid she would ever get out, she may follow through on some of her threats. The face 2 of her own kids stood up and said she should not be released speaks volumes! There were witnesses to everything that none of us can have knowledge of. Their experiences go far beyond TV movies and books. So, for them to say she should stay in prison, it tells me everything I need to know!

Anonymous said...

U are as stupid as the reporter who wrote this !

Anonymous said...

To all you retards who have been supporting Dan and slut Linda read Stumbo's book!!!

Anonymous said...

Betty was taunted by her ex and his wife, the ex railroaded her out of assets and threw her away for a younger woman. The ex wouldn't allow Betty any dignity. After having kids and being married for so long, he should have made sure Betty felt safe financially. It was THEIR money, THEIR assets. They drove her crazy, and in a way they got something in the end that that they started. That's just the truth.

Kell said...

If Betty was a man then the sympathy wouldn't be there, she wanted cash & quite frankly I'd be more than happy with £16k a month; that's a lot now never mind 30odd years ago!! She was angry at losing her cash & that's all imho, she's where she belongs.

Also if Dan was such a bastard then she should have been glad to be shot of him but she would have taken him back in an instant if he had wanted.

Anonymous said...

Just becuz she may have gotten this and that in her settlement, it doesn't mean they weren't playing with her head. Come on ladies! Dont tell me that you havent felt that uncontrollable rage after a split or divorce, cuz I'll call you unfeeling or a liar! I'm sorry it went that far for Linda and Dan's family but they shouldn't have been tormenting Betty. Anyone of us could of done the same thing in the same circumstance. I honestly think she should of gotten off under crime of passion laws. Her conviction is a slap in the face to women!

Whoever you want me to be said...


Whoever you want me to be said...

How do you know that? You read minds? Your an idiot

Kathie said...


Kathie said...