Love can make people act in unthinkable ways, and do unspeakable things. This case appears to be of a similar sort, but no one really knows what people are thinking when they kill.
Who is Betty Broderick?
On November 5th, 1989, 41-year-old Betty Broderick shot and killed her ex-husband, along with his new wife, in San Diego, California (CA).
The crime, preceded by a disgruntled divorce, rapidly became a point of interest for the nation.
Some people showed sympathy for Broderick as a wife who had been left for a younger woman; others felt as though she had harassed the couple before killing them.
The first prosecution against Broderick ended up in mistrial, but she was found guilty in 1991.
Earlier in her life
Broderick was born as Elisabeth Anne Bisceglia on November 7th, 1947. She grew up in New York with five other siblings.
When she was 17 and a first-year student at Mount Saint Vincent College, Broderick travelled to watch a football game at the University of Notre Dame in 1965.
There, she men Dan Broderick III, then a Notre Dame senior.
The couple got married on April 12th, 1969. After Dan finished his studies at Harvard Law, he, Broderick and their two daughters (they would later have two sons) moved to San Diego in 1973.
For Broderick, her husband employing Linda Kolkena as his assistant was a pivotal point in her marriage.
By 1983, she suspected Dan of having an affair; when she believed her accusations to be confirmed, she burned Dan’s clothes in the yard.
Dan split up with Broderick in February of 1985, leaving her in a rented home while he went back to live in their home in La Jolla in San Diego.
He filed for divorce in September of that same year.
During and after court proceedings, Broderick acted against restraining orders and even made death threats.
Due to this, and other damaging behaviours, Dan gained full custody of his and Broderick’s children and was able to sell the family home, much to the distain and anger of Broderick.
Following the sale of the family home, Broderick drover her car into the front door of her ex-husband’s new home, resulting in a three-day mental hold.
Broderick left Dan frequent messages that were riddled with profanity, which she explained away as a result of her anger after hearing Linda’s voice on the phone when calling to speak to her children.
In 1986 the divorce went through, but ongoing disputes about custody and alimony still occurred.
Broderick was eventually given a large monthly support of $16K; however, due to her social lifestyle, she claimed that she often had little to live on...
The murders of Dan and Linda
On the morning of November 5th, 1989, Broderick drove to Dan and Linda’s (who were married at this point) home and, using keys belonging to one of her daughters, entered the property.
Broderick made her way to the couple’s bedroom where they slept. She then fired five shots from her revolver; two of which hit Linda and killed her instantly, and another hit Dan.
Broderick stated that she saw Dan on the floor next to the phone, and worried he would reach it and call for help. She made sure to cut the phone cord before she left, leaving Dan behind to die.
She never denied her unthinkable actions, though she claimed she had only entered the home to discuss legal issues.
Trial and sentence
After the killings, Broderick was charged with murder.
The first proceedings resulted in a mistrial in November 1990, as jurors couldn’t decide whether to convict her of murder or manslaughter charges.
Broderick’s claims of being abused and manipulated did not keep the jury from finding her guilty on two counts of second-degree murder in December, 1991.
She received 32 years to life and was sent to prison. Broderick was eligible for parole in 2010, but this was not approved.
While some have supported Broderick in saying despite her crimes being horrific, Dan did leave her for another, younger woman.
However, others say she tormented and stalked the couple before killing them.
Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal