Special Sub-Topic: The Case of Betty Broderick
|On the early morning of November 5, 1989, 41 year-old Betty Broderick entered the home of her ex-husband, Dan Broderick, and his new wife, Linda. After firing five shots, three of which hit Dan and Linda, Betty ran out of the house, but before she left she did one thing that would come back to haunt her. What was that one thing?|
Ripped the telephone, that was near the bed, out of the wall. What drove Betty Broderick to commit this horrible crime? Was it premeditated murder? Or was it involuntary manslaughter? To find out what led Betty to this, one must start from the beginning.
|Elisabeth Anne Bisceglia met her future husband, Dan Broderick, at a Notre Dame football game when she was 17 years-old. Elisabeth was taken with the handsome, dark haired, young man. After three years of courtship, the couple were married. When were they married?|
April 12, 1969. Elisabeth Anne was born on November 7, 1947, in Eastchester, New York, to Frank and Marita Bisceglia. Frank was a plasterer, and by all accounts, the Bisceglias did the best they could for their family. They enrolled Elisabeth, who was nicknamed Betty, in the best schools their money could afford. Almost from the time Betty was born, she was taught and shown how to be a good wife.
Betty was 17 years-old when she first laid eyes on the handsome Dan Broderick at a Notre Dame football game. This was the first time she was allowed to travel to another state unsupervised, and she was enjoying herself. Betty and Dan fell in love instantly, and for the next three years Dan traveled back and forth from Notre Dame in Pennsylvania, and later from Cornell Medical College, just to be with Betty. Quite often, Dan brought Betty to his home in Pittsburgh, where his family lived.
The couple were married on April 12, 1969, in a lavish wedding, where they danced to their favorite song, Johnny Mathis' "Until the Twelfth of Never." Betty and Dan honeymooned in the Caribbean. For Betty, this was the culmination of all that was bred into her. She was truly happy for the first time in her life. In order for Dan to finish college, Betty worked at odd jobs to help him through. The couple lived in New York, where Betty first learned she was pregnant. She gave birth to their first child, a daughter, named Kimberly in January of 1970. Almost nine months later, they had their second child, another daughter, named Lee in July of 1971. A year later, Betty discovered she was pregnant yet again, but this time, knowing that her plate was full with two children, and knowing that her husband was hardly at home, she decided to have an abortion. When Dan found out what she was planning, he begged her not go through with it. He promised her that he would be home more and that he would help her with the baby and the girls. Betty, being the good wife that she was raised to be, didn't go through with it. However, when she was seven months pregnant, she went into premature labor, and as usual Dan was not around, as he was on a skiing trip. The baby, a boy, was born two months early, but unfortunately, he died of complications four days later. A few months after the death of her third child, Betty found out that she was pregnant yet again. However, this time she didn't tell Dan she was pregnant, and decided to have an abortion. Only after she had the abortion did she tell Dan what she had done.
By this time, Dan had graduated from Cornell Medical College, and was in his first year of residency when he decided to change careers. He wanted to become a medical malpractice attorney. He applied for, and was accepted into, Harvard. The Brodericks then moved to Massachusetts, where once again Betty sought odd jobs to help the family and to keep Dan enrolled in Harvard. From almost the beginning of Dan's decision to be a lawyer, he believed that his image was of the utmost importance. He began buying expensive clothes, while Betty and the children wore second hand clothes or clothes bought at discount stores. Dan's preoccupation with his image earned him the nickname of "Dapper Dan."
In 1973, the Brodericks moved to California so Dan could complete his clerkship in Los Angeles. And, once in California, their lives would never be the same.
|In 1973, Dan, Betty, and their two little girls moved to California, so Dan could complete a summer clerkship in Los Angeles. After finishing his clerkship, the Brodericks moved to San Diego, where Dan applied for, and received, a position in a prominent law firm. What was the name of this law firm?|
Gray, Cary. In 1973, Dan and Betty, along with their two daughters, Kimberly and Lee, moved to Los Angeles so Dan could complete a summer clerkship. After completing the clerkship, the Brodericks moved to San Diego, where Dan applied to the prominent law firm of Gray, Cary. Because he had a degree in medicine and a degree in law, Gray, Cary promptly hired the young and aspiring attorney, at $17,000 annually. It would be a few more years before the big money began to roll in. The Brodericks' first home was an apartment complex, called the Plum Tree, near the inner city of San Diego. A few months later, they moved to Clairemont, a middle class section of San Diego. After living in Clairemont for about a year, the Brodericks bought a house in the Coral Reef neighborhood in La Jolla, a lush and rich section of San Diego.
Between 1973 and 1976, Betty had an abortion and a miscarriage. During this time she also gave birth to a baby boy, who died four days later due to complications. In 1976, she gave birth to her fourth child, a boy whom they named Daniel T. Broderick IV. By this time, Betty was very disappointed that Dan wasn't spending enough quality time at home, and was always at pubs getting drunk with his co-workers, and was the main reason Betty had her first abortion.
In November of 1976, Betty persuaded Dan, who was always busy at Gray, Cary, to go on a weekend marriage retreat. The retreat was called a "marriage encounter," and was devised to help young couples overcome obstacles in the marriage. During this weekend, husbands and wives were required to write letters to their life partner, in order to get to know each other again. The encounter seemed to be a success, that when the Brodericks left the retreat they seemed more in love with each other, and seemed to have a better understanding of each other.
|In early 1983, while at a social function for attorneys, Dan Broderick saw Linda Kolkena for the first time. Although he was at the function with Betty, he seemed to forget that she was there. Dan made a remark that seemed to trigger Betty's suspicion. What was the remark that Dan made?|
"Isn't she beautiful?". Between 1976 and 1979, Betty had two more miscarriages before giving birth in 1979 to her fifth child, a boy, whom they named Rhett, after Dan's favorite book and movie "Gone With the Wind." After Rhett was born, Betty found out that she was pregnant once again, and had an abortion. After the abortion, she decided to have a tubal ligation. However, during this time, Betty persuaded Dan to open his own law firm. The two worked hard getting his law office up and running, that they became quite close, that is until Dan didn't need Betty helping out anymore.
By 1982, the Brodericks were looking for a bigger house, but by 1983 they had still not moved from the Coral Reef house.
In early 1983, Dan and Betty were at a social function for attorneys, when Dan saw Linda Kolkena for the first time. He was in awe at her beauty and remarked, "Isn't she beautiful?" to one of his friends. This remark instantly triggered Betty's suspicion. She thought about it and came to the conclusion that Dan would never cheat on her, that he loved her too much. That same night, while in bed, Betty casually asked Dan whom he had been talking about. Dan looked at her like he had no idea what she was talking about, then replied that it was a new girl at the office, a receptionist. Dan told Betty to forget about it, and Betty said she would, although she could never put the image of Linda Kolkena out of her mind. According to Betty, "I was shocked that this was the girl he thought was so beautiful. She was just another skinny little girl with a gap between her front teeth. She had all this hair, all pouffed up like Brigitte Bardot, bobby pins and the whole bit, not a streak of blonde in it. I was, to say the least, underwhelmed."
Exactly when Dan Broderick began his ugly affair is debatable, but all facts point to a few weeks after the social function, when Dan hired Linda to be his personal assistant. But what is not debatable is the fact that he lied to Betty from the beginning of the affair, even when she point blank asked him if he was seeing the "office girl."
There are plenty of "what ifs" to the story of Dan and Betty Broderick. What if Dan was honest enough to tell Betty the truth? What if Dan had more respect for Betty, the mother of his children? What if Dan didn't act like it was Betty who was crazy? What if Dan treated Betty with the dignity she deserved?
|In the summer of 1983, Betty took her children on a five week camping trip throughout the Northwest. When she came back, she and Dan attended a wedding in Newport Beach. On the drive to Newport, Dan told Betty that he wasn't happy with his life, and that he wasn't happy with her. What did Dan tell Betty that made her believe that he was seeing the "office girl"?|
He said she was old, fat, ugly, and boring. In the summer of 1983, Betty took her four children on a five week camping trip throughout the Northwest. Dan told Betty that he couldn't go with her and the children, but that he would come up on weekends. However, Dan only visited his family one weekend. During that one weekend, Dan was colder and more detached than Betty had ever seen him, and constantly argued. Betty was so hurt by her husband, that she drove him to the airport and told him to go home.
When Betty and the children arrived home from the camping trip, she found a different Dan Broderick than the one she knew. This new Dan was critical, extremely blunt, and very hostile. The day she came back from the trip, she and Dan attended a wedding in Newport Beach. On the drive to Newport, with Betty looking gorgeous, Dan told her that he was bored with his life, bored with her, told her that she was old, fat, ugly, and boring, and he told her that he didn't love her anymore. These cruel comments to his wife, who was 5'10," a size 8, 36 years-old, with gorgeous blonde hair and gorgeous eyes, and a great personality, told Betty that her husband was having an affair with the "office girl," or he was thinking about it.
Again, Betty confronted Dan and asked him if he was having an affair. Dan denied it and told Betty that she was crazy. However, Betty was smart enough not to believe Dan, and concluded that her husband was having a mid-life crisis. Betty thought it would pass. Unfortunately for her, Dan's affair with Linda did not pass, and life as Betty knew it would crumble around her.
|November 22, 1983, was Dan's 38th birthday. To celebrate her husband's birthday, Betty decided to go to his office, with gifts and champagne in hand, to surprise him. Instead, she learned that Dan was not there, as was his assistant, Ms. Kolkena. Betty waited for Dan into the early evening hours. She drove home in anger, feeling very betrayed. That night, she tried to get even with Dan. What did Betty do in an attempt to quell her feelings of betrayal?|
Set his clothes on fire in the yard. One evening in September of 1983, Dan told Betty that he finally hired an assistant at the office. Betty thought this was a great, figuring that Dan would now be able to spend time with her and the kids. However, before Betty got too excited, Dan dropped the bombshell, by telling her that he hired Linda Kolkena as his personal assistant. Betty was staggered. She couldn't and wouldn't believe that Dan would have the audacity to hire that girl he thought was so beautiful. Betty knew that Linda didn't have any experience in being a paralegal, and she knew that the girl couldn't type. When she mentioned these things to Dan, he said that Linda was a bright, charming woman, who learned very quickly, and that typing was not part of the job.
Betty knew exactly what the so-called job as personal assistant entailed, but kept it to herself. She then demanded that he fire Linda by October 1st, or get out. Dan told Betty that it was his house, his practice, his decision. October 1st came and went, and still Linda was very much in the picture.
By November of 1983, the hunt for a new house took on a new urgency. But, every house that they looked at, Dan didn't want. So, staying in the Coral Reef house, Dan and Betty began spending more and buying more. When Dan bought a candy apple red 1984 Corvette, Betty thought that maybe, just maybe, his infatuation with the "office girl" was over. But then Dan told her that Linda drove him to Long Beach, because he didn't want to bother her. Betty's head began spinning. She truly believed that Dan was having a mid-life crisis. She wanted to believe him when he told her that he was not having an affair, but her gut feeling dictated that he was.
In November of 1983, shortly before Dan's 38th birthday, the Brodericks went on a trip to New York, and stayed at the St. Regis Hotel. While there, Betty overheard a conversation Dan was having with Linda, but Dan told Betty that the conversation had to due with business. But, what he didn't tell Betty was that he left the brand new Corvette with Linda. When Betty found out, her temper flared. However, Dan never saw how angry and upset Betty was about this, for she soothed her anger by going shopping.
Then came November 22, 1983, Dan's birthday. That day, in attempt to bring the marriage back to where it was, Betty dressed in her finest clothes and, carrying gifts and champagne, went to Dan's law office near 5 PM to celebrate his birthday. However, when she got there, she was informed by his secretary that Dan and Ms. Kolkena had left early in the afternoon and had still not come back yet. Betty strolled around and went into Linda's office. What she saw there totally hurt her. Linda's office had expensive imported furniture, damask coverings, and designer wallpaper. Betty's eyes zeroed in on a picture of Dan on a white horse that was taken before they were married. She then went into Dan's office and saw the remnants of a small birthday party. Betty waited, into the early evening hours, for Dan to return, but he never did. Betty then drove home in anger and walked, with determination, into his closet and took out all of his beloved clothes. She then brought the bundle of clothes downstairs and out into the yard, where she doused it with gasoline and set it ablaze.
When Dan came home, she point blank told him "You won't move out, so I've moved you out. You're out of here." But Dan, instead of being angry at the burning of his clothes as an innocent man would have been, walked into the house and went to bed beside Betty. The next morning, when Betty asked him again if he was having an affair, Dan told her she was imagining it, that there was nothing going on with Linda, and that the party was innocent. He also told her that they had gone to lunch, that Linda went shopping, and that he had been at a disposition all day. Betty, wanting so badly to believe him, apologized for burning his clothes.
In December 1984, a foundation crack was discovered in the Coral Reef house. It would take several months to a year for the repairs to be made. Meanwhile, during this time, the Brodericks moved to a rented house on La Jolla Shores, and Betty thought that Dan was over his fling with Linda. She was wrong. After getting his family to leave the Coral Reef House, Dan continued his affair with the "Office Girl," much to Betty's despair. On February 28, 1985, Dan came home from work and dropped a bombshell on Betty. He told her that he was leaving and not coming back. Betty was floored. She could not understand why Dan was doing this to his family. Betty wondered how could Dan leave his family for the cheap "Office Girl." She made herself believe that this was a temporary thing and that any day, Dan would see his mistake and return to her. Unfortunately for Betty, Dan didn't care about her or their children, he only cared about himself. In later years, everyone would assume that Betty was the selfish one, that she was the cruel one, but this was not so.
|In October of 1985, Dan was living at the Coral Reef house, and being visited every night by Linda. One day, while both he and Linda were at the office, Betty went to the Coral Reef house. On the counter was Dan's favorite dessert. Betty grabbed it and went upstairs. There, she smashed it all over Dan's clothes and bedroom. What kind of dessert was it?|
Boston cream pie. After Dan left Betty and the children in the rented house on La Jolla Shores, Betty took the children on vacation to New York to visit her family. When she returned a month later, she discovered that the rented house was infested with rats. She called Dan to come over and help her, but he told her "good luck," and hung up. On April 8, 1985, four days before their wedding anniversary, Betty, in an attempt to teach Dan a lesson about parenting, brought her kids, one by one, to the empty Coral Reef house where Dan was living. To Betty's surprise, Dan kept the kids and then began on his mission to drive her crazy. The summer of 1985 found Betty trying to woo back Dan, but he was unreceptive. Betty knew that he was still seeing Linda, although he kept denying it. In October of 1985, Betty went to her former house and saw a Boston cream pie sitting on the counter. She asked the housekeeper whose pie it was, and the housekeeper told her it was Linda's. Betty, her temper flaring, grabbed the pie and walked methodically upstairs. She then smashed the pie all over Dan's expensive clothes, and all over the bedroom. Satisfied with her destruction, Betty left. When Dan returned home, he was furious and vowed to teach his soon to be ex-wife a lesson she would never forget. However, ultimately, it would be Dan who was taught a lesson. The lesson being that had he respected Betty, maybe he would still be alive.
|Betty once drove her suburban through Dan's front door.|
True. In 1986, some months after the 'Boston cream pie' incident, Dan moved out of the Coral Reef house and moved to Balboa Park. He wanted to get away from anything that involved Betty, and with this in mind, he decided to sell the Coral Reef house. Betty was opposed to selling the family home, and fought tooth and nail. However, she did not win this fight. Coral Reef was sold without Betty's consent, and she went ballistic. Amazingly, Dan actually felt that Betty should not have been upset and couldn't understand her frustration and pain.
The same day that Coral Reef was sold from under Betty, she went to Dan's mansion in Balboa Park. He wasn't home, but their children were. Betty's children begged their mother to leave because they didn't want her to get in trouble with Dan. Betty refused to leave and decided to wait for Dan. She didn't have to wait long, because a few minutes later Dan arrived and ejected her off the premises. Betty flew into an understandable rage and drove her Suburban into Dan's front door, crashing the door to pieces.
Dan called the police, and Betty was arrested and placed in a mental institution for three days for observation. If Dan thought that this would stop Betty, he was dead wrong. All it did was add fuel to a fire that was beginning to go wild.
|In 1986, Dan thought of a new way to try to control his wife. Fed up with what he called her 'wanton' destruction, Dan sought a new and legal way to tame Betty, a judicial procedure that would supposedly make her accountable for her actions. What was the name of this judical procedure?|
Order to Show Cause & OSC. 1986 began the wave of mental abuse for Betty. Because she dared to fight for the man she loved, and because she dared to stand up to the all powerful Dan Broderick, she was hit with OSCs (Order to Show Cause). This was Dan's way to try to tame the beast that he thought was Betty. He brought her up on OSCs for every little infraction, which included foul and obscene language, crank calls, driving near his house, seeing their children, and anything else that he could think of. Betty was literally choking on OSCs from 1986 to 1989. Almost every month, and sometimes more than once a month, Betty was brought to court to answer to the OSCs.
|Betty left foul and obscene messages, directed at her children, on Dan's answering machine.|
false. Through 1986, and extending almost up to November 5, 1989, Betty used the only weapon she had to get even with Dan and Linda. She left hundreds, if not thousands, of foul and obscene messages directed at Dan and Linda, never at her children.
However, because Dan and Linda played the messages in front of the children, the kids heard Betty's messages. This upset them so much that they felt that what was happening to their mother was their fault. Betty never purposely tried to hurt her children, unlike Dan, who would forbid them to see their mother whenever he felt like it.
All Betty wanted was to have her family back, including Dan. Unfortunately, all Dan wanted was to hurt Betty, and to that end he would stop at nothing. On November 5, 1989, Dan's cruelty did stop, but not by his hands, but by Betty's hands.
|In 1989, a few weeks prior to Dan's and Linda's wedding, what was Betty accused of stealing that belonged to Linda?|
Wedding list. In January of 1989, the divorce of Betty and Dan Broderick became official. Betty received a settlement of $28,000 for nearly 20 years of marriage, pain, and suffering. Betty couldn't comprehend this, she expected a couple million dollars, and was floored by the courts decision to agree with Dan's settlement. Basically, this fueled the fire of Betty's rage even more, more than Dan could know.
To add fuel to the fire, Dan announced that he and Linda would be married on April 22, 1989, just ten days later than he and Betty's marriage some twenty years ago. This hurt Betty tremendously.
One day, a few weeks prior to the wedding, Linda discovered that her wedding list was missing. She questioned the maids in Dan's mansion, and they told her that Betty had been in the house. That was all she needed to know. She went to Dan and demanded that he get back the list. Dan immediately brought Betty to court on another OSC, and she was questioned about the missing list. She said that the only thing she took was some mail that was labeled for her. She said that if the list was with the mail, then maybe she took it by accident. Of course, Linda, Dan, and the judge didn't believe her. Betty was ordered to return the missing list within 24 hours or face jail time. She pleaded to the judge that she had no idea where the list was at, that she didn't even know where she put the mail at in her house. The judge was unsympathetic. The 24 hours came and went, and Betty did not return the list, assuming that she had the list. Betty was jailed. Linda was extremely upset because Betty had not done what the judge demanded. So, with that in mind, Linda broke into Betty's house and went through her personal things. According to Linda, she found the list on Betty's desk in plain sight.
It's amazing, that without witnesses and without proof, Betty was jailed for supposedly stealing the wedding list. Even more amazingly, we are to believe Linda Kolkena when she said that she found the list at Betty's house, again, without witnesses and proof. Who are we to believe? I believe Betty. It seems that Linda, keeping in tune with her future husband, was trying to make Betty crazy and did anything in her power to do that.
|The first trial of Betty Broderick began on Monday, November 22, 1991, with the prosecution claiming that Betty had acted with malice in the murders of Dan and Linda.|
False. The first trial of Betty Broderick began on Monday, October 22, 1990. The prosecution was spearheaded by Kerry Wells, and claimed that Betty had premeditated the murders of Dan and Linda. They called, as witnesses, Kim and Lee Broderick and Betty's friends. Kim Broderick basically tried to crucify her mother, while Lee Broderick tried to help her. Betty's so-called friends, the friends she had while married to Dan, turned on her. They exaggerated every little detail of things that Betty had told them, and made Dan and Linda out to be a saint. However, Betty did have some friends who testified for her.
|The first trial ended with a hung jury. One juror told reporters that as he listened to the court's description of Dan Broderick's infidelity and psychological brutality, he only had one thought throughout much of the proceedings. What did the juror tell reporters and what was the juror's name?|
"What took her so long?" - Walter Polk. The jury deliberated for four days, and ended with a 10-2 split. The two holdouts could not, and would not, believe that Betty had premeditated the murders.
Afterwards, in an interview with reporters outside the courthouse, Walter Polk, one of the two holdouts, told reporters that as he listened to the description of Dan's brutality, he kept thinking "what took her so long?" and with that train of thought, he could not indict Betty for premeditated murder.
|In October of 1991, the second trial of Betty Broderick began. During the trial, her defense attorney, Jack Early, dropped a bombshell. What was the surprise that Early delivered?|
He had evidence that Dan had tried to hire someone to kill Betty.. The second trial for the murders of Dan and Linda Broderick began in October of 1991. The defense was severly hindered, and was not allowed to show evidence that Betty was a battered wife. Jack Early, Betty's lawyer, said that Paul Taylor, a cab driver, was offered $500,000 in 1983 to kill Betty. Taylor said that when he refused to cooperate with Dan that Dan said that he would find another way to get rid of his wife.
Unfortunately, as soon as Early let this news out, the judge ordered it cleared off the record and Early was not allowed to bring it up again. From that moment on, the second trial of Betty Broderick was strictly one way, all for the prosecution. It seemed as though Dan Broderick was getting even from his grave.
|What was the sentencing of Betty, after she was found guilty of second degree murder?|
Two consecutive fifteen-years-to-life sentences. Betty Broderick was sentenced to two consecutive fifteen-years-to-life sentences for the second degree murders of Dan and Linda Broderick. She was sent to the Central California Women's Facility at Chowchilla. Betty is eligible for parole 19 years to the day of her sentencing, with good behavior she could be released earlier.
All information came from the books "Until the Twelfth of Never" by Bella Stumbo, "Forsaking All Others" by Loretta Schwartz-Nobel, and www.crimelibrary.com.
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