On November 5th 1989 Dan Broderick and his second wife Linda were shot dead at their home. Dan's ex wife Betty handed herself in and admitted to killing the victims.
Dan and Betty met in 1965 they got engaged soon after they met. They married in 1969 and soon had their first child. The couple went on to have four more children, one of whom sadly died not long after birth. During these early days the couple had barely any money.
Betty juggled being a mum with holding down numerous jobs, while Dan studied. Daniel Broderick was initially studying at medical school but he switched to law school. He was eventually to become a very successful lawyer and the family no longer had to worry about money. Betty was at this point in their marriage able to fulfil what she said she always wanted, which was to be a stay at home mother looking after the children and the home.
Affair with Linda
In 1983 Dan hired Linda Kolkena to be his assistant. Betty immediately suspected that something was going on between Dan and Linda. This seemed to be spurred on by an incident that was supposed to have occurred on Dan's birthday. Betty had turned up at Dan's office to surprise him, and discovered his office all decorated with balloons, and Betty was informed by someone who worked there that Dan and Linda had gone out for a meal to celebrate. He repeatedly denied any affair and often told Betty she was mad.
End of Marriage
Despite her belief that Dan was having an affair Betty did not want the marriage to end. This decision was taken out of her hands in 1985 when Dan moved out. He also finally admitted that she had been right and he had been having an affair with Linda for a couple of years. After he moved out he took custody of the children. Their divorce was very long drawn out and eventful, it was eventually finalised in 1989.
Betty didn't really help herself during the period that the divorce was taking place. There were many accounts of her outrageous and disturbing behaviour. She ignored every court order and restraining order against her. At one point she drove her car into the front door of Dan's home, she did this knowing that at the time her children were in the home. At one point after Betty left many abusive voicemails on Dan's phone, he had an arrangement set up that for every swear word she left on his answerphone, he would deduct a certain amount of money from her monthly allowance. It was reported that one month she owed him a good chunk of this allowance.
On the day he married Linda his friends and family urged him to wear a bullet proof vest and have security, they were worried she would turn up and hurt him. Apparently his attitude was if she was going to do anything she would find a way, he refused to spoil his wedding day.
Betty entered Dan and Linda's home on the 5th November 1989, Linda was shot twice and she died instantly. Dan apparently didn't die immediately and tried to reach for the phone. Evidence showed that Betty had removed the phone so they couldn't call for help. After speaking to her daughter she turned herself in.
At Betty Broderick's first trial her defence made claims she had been abused by Dan. They claimed she had been driven to commit this crime after years of psychological abuse. Her first trial ended in a hung jury.
The jury in her second trial were able to decide on a verdict and found her guilty of two counts of second-degree murder. She received a sentence of two terms of 15 years to life.
She has applied for parole a few times but to this day she remains in prison.
Claims Made by Betty and her Defence Team
During her trials her defence said she had been driven to her actions because of her husbands behaviour. They laid out the case that after years of being there for Dan and working lots of jobs as well as taking care of their children so he could study, he traded her in as soon as he had become successful. The defence stated that had it not been for Betty doing all of this Dan could never have been so successful.
Betty claimed she was unable to get a decent solicitor during the divorce because of Dan's influence in the legal field. Broderick also made claims that Dan had often called her names including that she was old and fat.
She said she had not gone to their house to kill them, that she had actually gone to kill herself in front of them.
The prosecution claimed Betty was a coldhearted and selfish woman who had in fact gone to Dan and Linda's house to kill them.
They said Betty's claims of abuse and Dan bullying her throughout the divorce were untrue. In fact she received large amounts of money from Dan during this time.
The prosecution actually played recordings of the messages Betty left on her ex husbands machine. Including a very upsetting one where her young son had picked up the phone and begged her to stop leaving abusive messages.
Her own daughter testified that she had seemed unrepentant after the murders. The evidence of her unplugging the phone was also used by the prosecution to show what her mind was like at the time of the crime.
Betty was quite clearly a disturbed woman this comes across in interviews and her testimony. She has never shown any remorse for the murder of her children's father and his wife.
Whilst it must have been hard to be traded in for a younger model Betty went to extremes to show her upset, including damaging property and displaying her feelings in front of her children. She appeared to not care how any of her outbursts would effect them.
Don't get me wrong its pretty evident that Dan wasn't innocent during the divorce or before it for that matter. Having an affair and making his wife think she was crazy for suspecting it doesn't say to me he was a caring partner, does that mean he deserved to die though? I don't believe so. The same for Linda, yes she had an affair with a married man but should she have died for that? Absolutely not.
At the time of the murders Betty and Dan had been divorced for a while, but Betty just didn't seem to want to let it go. She carried so much hate and jealously inside her that it eventually ate her up. This fury inside her not only took the life of Dan and Linda but undoubtedly ruined her children's lives. Their children being left without a father or mother. For someone claiming to be a brilliant mother and loving her children, she certainly didn't think of them when she went to their father's home armed with a gun.
There is so much more to this case and I could probably write a lot more about it but I don't want to bore anyone. There are lots of books, documentaries and movies on this case if you fancy finding out more about this case.
Do you have any views on this case? Let me know in comments.