Betty Broderick Life, Marriage, Divorce, Books, Movies, & TV Shows

After Betty Broderick killed her ex-husband and his new wife on November 5, 1989, many people argued about whether she did it because she was mentally drained or because she wanted to get even.

Who is Betty Broderick?

Betty Broderick, who was 41 at the time, shot and killed her ex-husband and his new wife in San Diego, California, on November 5, 1989. After a nasty divorce, the crime quickly caught the attention of people all over the country. Some people felt sorry for Broderick because her husband had left her for a younger woman, but others thought she had been rude to her ex-husband and his new wife before she killed them. At her first trial, Broderick was found not guilty, but at her second trial in 1991, she was found guilty of second-degree murder. In 2010 and 2017, her requests for early release were turned down. Broderick’s story has been used in things like TV movies and the TV show Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story.

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Early Years:

Elisabeth Anne Bisceglia was born on November 7, 1947. This is when Broderick was born. She and her five other siblings grew up in Eastchester, New York. In 1965, when she was 17 and in her first year at Mount Saint Vincent College, she went to Notre Dame to watch a football game. She met Daniel “Dan” Broderick III there. He was a senior at Notre Dame at the time.


On April 12, 1969, they got married. Dan, Broderick, and their two daughters moved to San Diego in 1973, after Dan finished his studies at Harvard Law School.


Broderick’s marriage took a turn when her husband hired Linda Kolkena to be his assistant. By 1983, she thought someone was cheating on her. When she thought her suspicions were right, she burned Dan’s clothes in their yard. Dan and Broderick broke up in February 1985. He moved back to their home in La Jolla, a part of San Diego, while she moved into a rental house. In September 1985, he asked for a divorce.

Connections as the President:

Broderick did not follow restraining orders and made death threats during and after his contentious divorce. She once went to her husband’s house and spray-painted the walls. Another time, she smeared cream pie on Dan’s things. She thought she had no choice but to fight back because he was using his knowledge and connections as the president of the San Diego Bar Association to hurt her. A court order gave Dan full custody of their kids and let him sell the family home against Broderick’s wishes.

Mental Hold:

After the sale of the house, Broderick drove her car into Dan’s new front door, which led to a three-day mental hold. She often left rude messages, and later she said it was because she didn’t like hearing Linda’s voice when she called to talk to her sons.

Use Money:

Dan used the money he was giving Broderick to try to control how she acted. He set up a system of fines for different kinds of wrongdoing, like docking her $100 if she cursed or $500 if she broke into his house.

Disagreements about Child Custody and Alimony:

Even though there were still disagreements about child custody and alimony, the divorce went through in 1986. Broderick was eventually given $16,000 a month in support, but as a former socialite, she thought this wasn’t enough to cover her costs. At one point, she told him, “I had nothing left to live on.”

Her ex-husband and his New Wife were both killed:

Broderick drove to Dan and Linda’s house in San Diego early on November 5, 1989. Broderick got into the house with her daughter’s keys and went to the bedroom, where Dan and Linda were still sleeping. Then Broderick fired five shots from her gun. Two of them hit Linda, and she died right away. One hit Dan.

Los Angeles Times in an Interview:

Broderick later told The Los Angeles Times in an interview that Dan had said, “OK, OK, you got me,” after she shot him. Also, she said, “He was lying on the floor, and the phone was right next to him. I said to myself, “Oh, my God! He’ll be on that phone before I get to the bottom of the stairs.” Broderick took the phone cord out of the wall before leaving him to die to stop this from happening.

Legal Problems:

Broderick never said she didn’t kill Dan and Linda, but she said she went into their house to confront them about ongoing legal problems and then planned to kill herself. Broderick says that when Dan went to get the phone to call the police, she was startled and pulled the trigger. Then she wouldn’t have had any more bullets to kill herself.

Trial and Punishment:

Broderick was charged with murder after the killings. In November 1990, the first trial failed because the jury couldn’t decide whether to find her guilty of murder or manslaughter. Even though Broderick said she had been abused and manipulated, the jury at her second trial in December 1991 found her guilty of two counts of second-degree murder.

Prison Life:

Broderick was sent to prison after getting a sentence of 32 years to life. She could have gotten out of jail in 2010, but this did not happen. One parole officer told her at the time, “Your heart is still bitter, and you are still angry.” In 2017, Broderick was again not allowed to go free. She wrote after that, “I’ve met all the requirements for parole, and my date of release was in 2010. I’m just a political prisoner now. They have no reason to keep me from going home.”

The next time Broderick’s parole will be looked at is in 2032, but she may be able to get a hearing sooner if she does things like act well.

Successful Medical Malpractice Lawyer:

People who backed Broderick were against the murders, but they thought her husband had used her badly. She helped him and their young family while he finished medical school at Cornell University and went to Harvard Law School. She was also by his side as he became a successful medical malpractice lawyer. When Dan’s law career was going well and he was making a million dollars a year, he left his first wife for a younger woman. This meant that Broderick couldn’t live the luxurious life he and Dan had always wanted.

Books, Movies, and TV Shows:

The killings got a lot of attention right away, and Court TV showed Broderick’s trials. In the early 1990s, A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story and Her Final Fury: Betty Broderick, the Last Chapter were both popular TV movies based on her life. Broderick was a guest on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show. There have been many books written about Broderick and what she did. In 2020, the case of Betty Broderick was brought up again on the TV shows Snapped and Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story.


Broderick and Dan had four kids together: Kim (born in 1970), Lee (born in 1971), Daniel IV (born in 1976), and Rhett (b. 1979). After Broderick killed her ex-husband, the two younger children were taken in by the ex-wife of their father’s brother (by then her daughters were legal adults).

Broderick has talked to her children while she has been in jail. In 2005, on Oprah’s 20th Anniversary Follow-Up Show, Rhett said, “She’s a nice lady.” “Everyone here would like her…as long as they didn’t talk to her about my dad”. In 2010, two of Broderick’s children were in favor of her getting parole, but the other two were against it.

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