Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Betty Broderick Case


Undisputed Facts:

1. On November 5, 1989, Betty Broderick, using a key that belong to her daughter, went into the home of her ex-husband Dan Broderick and shot and killed Dan and his new wife, Linda, in their bed.

2. Betty and Dan were married April 12, 1969.  They had four children together.  Betty worked and helped Dan first through medical school and then later law school.  

3. In the early 1980's Betty suspected Dan was having an affair with his secretary, Linda Kolkena, to which Dan repeatedly denied (These issues have been confirmed through people who knew the victims, including children).  After three years of denying the affair and proclaiming to Betty and others, that she was crazy, Dan admitted to the affair, filed for a restraining order and filed for divorce.  This was 1985.

4. Four years later, on January 30,  1989 the divorce was finally final and Dan and Linda were married April 22, 1989 (note that April 12th would have been Dan and Betty's 20th wedding anniversary). I have not officially confirmed this, but it has been said that the judge from his divorce case attended the wedding.

5.  During the four years between the filing of the divorce and the finalization Betty had done many things, such as left many obscene messages on Dan and Linda's (who while not married had moved into his new home soon after Betty and Dan split) answering machine; she dropped the kids off on his doorstep, to which he promptly filed custody of and won; she even ran her car into the front door of his home.

6. For Dan, and Linda's, part, legal loopholes were found and used; Dan consistently attempted to have Betty's spousal support lowered; "charged" her for every obscene word to uttered on his machine; Linda helped in the harassment of things such as sending "age-defying" coupons to Betty's home.

7. When the divorce was final, due to a law called "Epstein credits" (which will be discussed later),  Betty actually owed Dan and she was awarded less than 30,000$, lost custody of the children and had no community property (Dan had sold their home already).


8. After the murder Betty turned herself into the police, never denying she shot them.


9. Betty's first trial ended in a hung jury. Two jurors had held out for a charge of manslaughter.  One juror was quoted as saying "I only wonder what took her so long."


10.  In Betty's second trial she was convicted of two counts of 2nd degree murder and sentenced to two terms of 15 years to life plus 2 years for illegal use of a firearm.


11. Betty had a parole hearing in January 2010.  Two of her four children asked she be released; two ask that she remain incarcerated.  Parole was denied based on the fact she failed to show remorse for the killings. 





Disputed Facts:
 
1. Betty claims she did not go to the home to kill Dan and Linda but to "talk" to them, specifically him, as he had stopped communication.  She claims she saw one of the victims go to reach for the phone and the gun "suddenly went off."  The phone cord was pulled from the wall and the victims lay riddled with bullets but Betty's claims were she does not remember everything exactly as "it happened so fast."


2. It has been alleged, and likely true although no way to totally prove, that during the divorce the reason Betty ultimately represented herself, and likely for how little she obtained,  is because she could not find an attorney willing to go up against Dan in court.  He was a highly respected med-mal-attorney with a lot of clout. But, the fact of the matter (and maybe it should be under undisputed facts) is that Dan was President of the Bar Association and had a lot of high and powerful friends.

Other possibly the above, there are few disputed facts in this case, if any.  The matter of guilt or innocence has never been an issue as Betty has always admitted going into the home with the gun and shooting the victims.  


My Opinion:

Whenever I am writing these blogs, even on stories that I know, I do research to check my facts, answer questions and see if there may be some information that I have missed or what not.  This particular case was difficult for me to write about in the sense of trying to make sure my opinions were not expressed until I reached this section.  Then I had typed out a very long section here until I came across a blog written by someone else on this subject a few years ago.  The writer stated she had always sympathized with Betty but had recently become angry with her.  The writer made very valid points. Between the writer and the 100 plus comments on the blog not a single person (some of which supposedly knew Dan and Linda, and one was supposedly a friend of Linda's sister) had anything nice to say about Dan or Linda.  


While outside self-defense or defending someone else's life I do not see a justification in killings, I have to admit that this is the one and only case that I feel the victims asked for what they got.  Just as with the other cases I have blogged about so far I have read books, and articles and have seen countless television shows dealing with this case.  It has been quite a while since I read Bella Stumbo's book "Til the Twelfth of Never" and I hear it is out of print but I would love to re-read it and recommend it to others who haven't.  Yes, I suppose one could argue it was a bit on the bias side for Betty but one has to wonder how any retelling of the story cannot be.


When Dan and Betty married he was still in medical school.  When he graduated he decided not to continue his training but to go into law school.  Betty worked multiple jobs to put him through school at that time, as well as ultimately bore him four children.  A few statistics have been reported on his income at the time of his death.  One said "over" $1 million a year and one stated $300,000 (3.6 mil. a year).  He has be referred to multiple times as a "multi-millionaire."  Once the income started coming in, he was headed out the door.  It has also been widely reported that he was an alcoholic.  Whether this has been exaggerated or not, I do not know.  I am sure some that are "for" Betty will consider him to be a raging alcoholic, while others that are "for" Dan likely make it sound as if aside from his adulterous ways he was like a Monk.  I am sure somewhere in the middle lies the truth.  


When Dan and Linda first started their affair he was 38 and she was 22.  One of Linda's biggest faults (although definitely not her only) was something she could not control, her youth.  I do not know who pursued who in the relationship, although there are reports that when Dan first saw her at a party he immediately was attracted to her.  It does not matter however.  Ultimately not only did she have an affair with her married boss, once it became public knowledge (ok... the only one who didn't know was Betty, and well, she knew) she began flaunting the relationship in Betty's face.  One has to wonder if they would have lived if when their marriage ended how she would have liked the next trophy girlfriend/wife treating her the way she treated Betty.  


In every case and in every situation you are always going to find someone professional to go to bat for someone.  This is usually a lawyer or a psychologist or someone like that willing to go into a courtroom and profess sympathy for the defendants.  It also is not very rare in which a defense attorney will "trash" the victim or victims.  What does seem rare to me is that I have seen many people discuss this case that make their living studying and talking about cases like this in which they are usually very generalized and sometimes seemingly bias to the victims, but not in this case.  I have seen people like Candace DeLong (former FBI agent; she does several shows on the Discovery ID channel) and true crime author Gregg Oleson both speak of this case, as well as many other cases.  Aside from this case I have never seen them be sympathetic to the murderer.  It is generally a resounding voice that while no one can justify Betty murdering both Dan and Linda in their bed (and then pulling the phone cord out of the wall preventing them from calling for help), it is felt that she was pushed to that point, not just by Dan and his legal antics but also by Linda.


Earlier on I said that I would address the issue of Epstein credits.  As I was researching more on this case, I also researched this issue in order to better understand it and explain it so people understand how this issue and Dan's manipulation of it played a large role in the divorce proceedings and helped pushed Betty closer and closer to the edge of insanity.  I cannot tell you how many states have this law, but in California, where this case was, they do.  The long and short of it that when someone gets divorced often times one of the spouses will pay all the bills concerning the community property until the divorce is final.  When the divorce is finalized the paying spouse can ask for 1/2 of the monies in which incurred during that time, starting the day the separation occurred.  For every delay, for every continuance (many of which caused by Dan), this divorce dragged on .... for four long years.  In the end Dan, who was buddies with the judge, stated he had $750,000 in Epstein credits.  It has been reported that the judge took him for his word... on his numbers, never asking for proof.  This $750,000 was deducted from any monies that Betty was entitled to.  She did receive half of his pension but at 41 years old she could not claim the $240,000 in that until the age of 65.  Ultimately she was initially awarded $33,000 but the judge deducted $5,000, giving that to Dan because he pulled Betty into court month after month for "Show Cause" hearings so he could take more money from her because of her bad language.  So, for nearly 20 years of marriage, putting him through TWO major schoolings, raising his children and doing the "wifely duties" expected of someone of his stature she walked out with less than $30,000.  


Now obviously, murder was not the answer.  Four children were in essence left orphans as their dad was murdered and their mom went to jail.   As the blog I read earlier pointed out, the best revenge Betty could have ever gotten was to sit back, pick herself up by her bootstraps and watch as Dan and Linda not only got frustrated over how their means to get at her did not faze her, and then start laughing when that marriage crumbled.  I can say from experience that there is a joy found when the "new" woman tries to tell you how your ex husband is and how wonderful it is and then when it is over her whole tune changes.  The problem is that while we can all say how that would have been the best revenge against the slimeball and his bimbo gold digger (oops... did I say that out loud?), we were not the ones being harassed by them.  We would all like to think that none of us would make the bad decisions that Betty made, you decide if I am including murder in those bad decisions.  Few can argue the phone calls to his home, speaking to her children about him and running her car into his home was in any rational or good decisions.  In essence Dan harassed her for nearly 10 years, at least, and in the last 4 1/2 he had help from Linda, and the legal system.  We proclaim everyone has a breaking point, they found hers.


In 2010 the main reason Betty was denied parole was her lack of remorse.  We can all speculate and say that she should feel sorry, if for no other reason than for her children, but for herself, should she be remorseful?  And, you have to get Betty credit, prison cannot be easy, let alone for a former socialite, she apparently is not going to pretend to be remorseful when she is not.  Sadly she has to wait until 2026 for her next parole hearing.  She will be 77 years old.  Apparently life in prison is better than being harassed by Linda and her Sugar Daddy. (The 2026... may not be correct... I have also heard 2013)

4 comments:

  1. I think you missed a very important fact, that may seem irrelevant to some: Betty and Dan had a FIFTH child, who died shortly after birth. As a parent of six, who has had an infant daughter die, I would like to add a little perspective. I think this "unimportant" or overlooked fact of the case could be monumental.

    Part of Dan's continuous torture of Betty, was his calling, accusing, or telling others that Betty was crazy. I can tell you from experience that no other event in one's life can make a mother feel like they are on the edge of sanity, like the loss of a child. Each day is a living hell of grief and panic, as you watch your family grow, all the while conscious that someone is missing. As I experience even a happy day or occasion, I will be suddenly gripped with a moment of terror that a child has wandered off or been left behind. It is an existence where I feel ever obligated to be thankful for each moment, since I know how quickly one can be taken from me. Yet, I feel a betrayal to my lost daughter, like enjoying life without her diminishes her importance.

    When the child lost is an infant, it intensifies the sensation that one is losing their sanity. In my experience, I think this is because that many people that I run into now, do not even know that my missing daughter existed. I am constantly bombarded with the recognition that I have many children, and the question, "How many do you have?" or, "Are they all yours?". I am put into the spot to answer, "5" (which somehow feels a dishonor to the one passed), or, "6, but one passed away a few years ago..." (which, I feel, makes me sound all the nuttier).

    The loss of child draws much sympathy and (unwanted) pity, at first. But, if one is able to have more children, quickly grows into a feeling that the whole world is watching and waiting for the mother to "get over it". This sensation that everyone is growing impatient with your grief is unbearable and surreal; and I mean everyone grows impatient- parents, siblings, other children... and your spouse (the ONE person you feel should feel as you do). Accusations of being CRAZY from your spouse are a cruelty that few can understand.

    What Dan and Linda did to this woman is unforgivable. To make this woman believe she was losing her sanity was, I am sure, not hard to do. To be a father of the same child who was lost, and still forge ahead on a campaign to belittle Betty's importance and drive her to madness is a terrible betrayal, both of her as his wife and as the mother of their FIVE children. This betrayal, I feel, was even worse than Dan's adultery.

    I am not sad for the "loss" of Dan or Linda. I am disgusted by the lengths Dan went to, in order to make Betty feel she was insane & out of options. It is even more despicable, to me, that Dan allowed Linda to behave this way towards the mother of his kids. I am heartbroken for their living kids, both those who took Betty's side, and those who fought their own mother when she needed their support. I am sorry that Betty has had to endure so much pain, when she worked so hard to build her dream life. I feel no sadness or sorrow for this world's loss of Dan or Linda Broderick.

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  2. Very good point Kim. I knew of the fifth child and did fail to mention it. Was that also the one that he was on a ski trip with friends when she delivered? Which also shows the lack of support dating back years. You are also most correct in the feelings of a mother who has lost a child obviously.

    While doing all my research (and brushing up) on this case I kept also thinking of how my oldest child is 21...one year younger than Linda was when the affair started. Not that I am excusing her by any means because ignorance is NOT an excuse but seriously, as I said here her biggest fault was her youth. And, again as I said here, I really wish she would have lived because Dan would have dumped her the second she got "old" and who's to say the next 22 yr old bimbo wasn't going to treat her exactly the way she treated Betty? Could you see it? Betty pulled herself together, she'd moved on... had a good career, remarried and happy, a well rounded person and up walks Linda trying to make amends because she suddenly realized what an ass she was? If she had not already tasted the sweet revenge she would then because BTW, I did not mention this, but I saw accounts that her divorce settlement was overturned (not sure if it's true or not).

    I have also heard reports that Dan's family, especially his brother, was just as ruthless and greedy and money hungry as he was. From my understanding the estate had to sue his brother for $450,000 that Dan loaned him BEFORE he and Betty divorced and several other shady things. He was the executor and in order to keep Linda's family from basically getting anything (guess they finally settled on a bit) he fought and fought to prove she died first so HER estate went to him and not the other way around. Which if you think about it... Betty could have really screwed her kids... If Dan died first all his money and everything could have gone to her and her family decide if they got much of anything.

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  3. I feel like although you both make great points. As well all you said is true. Betty was tortured by both Linda and Dan. They both were horrible people who made Betty's life terrible. Still what she did was wrong. She took two lives. No matter the reason that was wrong. I hope I would not do the same in her situation but if I did I would deserve jail until I could prove I was truly sorry.

    Betty was pushed to what she did sure. But she shouldn't have killed them. Not that they deserved to live as that is questionable, Dan at least was a horrible, ruthless person and yet I still can't get past the fact that murder is murder and it is wrong.

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  4. Patches... I agree with you, murder is wrong and she should have never done it. As well as I agree yes she should have gone to jail for it.. maybe for not as long as she has, but yes. And she absolutely should have considered what she was doing to her children. I will have to look for the blog I read when I was brushing up on my research on this case. By the time I found it I had already written a lot under the "My opinion" part but I erased it. The blog reminded me the best revenge would have been to let them live, live well and then laugh when things did not turn out as Dan and Linda expected. Statistically, that marriage would have never lasted. Also, as a mother, with children and step-children (all from divorce) I have learned as they grow they see more and more and reflect more. Who's not to say that once they grew into adults and looked back or had an abusive marriage themselves they would not have admired Betty for moving forward. Instead, as happens so often, he nearly became a martyr to those close to him and had no flaws. And reality is she killed the father of her children.

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