November 5, 1989
Its interesting when the person committing the crime becomes more famous than the victim. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to come up with any victim names when it comes to people like Gacy, or Dahmer. Probably because the criminal had style. Wild as it may be, its true if you think about it. This is an excellent example, put together by my pal Harry. Thanks Harry.
The divorce of Dan and Betty Broderick is quite easily the poster child of a nasty breakup – except in this case, it ended up in murder.
In the beginning, all was peachy keen, when they married April 12, 1969. Want to see the happy couple? Their wedding reception song was Johnny Mathis’ The Twelfth of Never. Ahhhh.
Through the ensuing years, Betty put Dan through law and medical school, so that he could pursue his (financially rewarding) dream of being a medical malpractice attorney. During this time, she also bore him four children – two boys and two girls — a picture perfect family for the good Catholic girl and her up-and-coming hubby.
Dan got lucky when he moved to San Diego and joined the prestigious law firm of Gray, Cary, Ames and Fry. Finally, the Brodericks were able to start living a comfortable middle class life. They bought a two-story tract home in La Jolla on Coral Reef. Life was good, as Dan went to work every day, and Betty played super-mom, toting the kids to school, lessons and generally being June Cleaver incarnate.
Dan decided in 1978 to strike out on his own, opening his medical malpractice law offices. It took awhile, but the money soon began rolling in to the tune of a million-plus every year. Betty thought they had finally made it. But soon a blond problem came into the picture.
Linda Kolkena was a 21-year-old former flight attendant and now a freelance receptionist, working for a variety of companies and law firms. Dan spotted her first at a party in 1983 that he was attending with Betty, commenting to a buddy how attractive the svelte blond was. Funny, she looked a lot like Betty, doncha think? Well, surprise-surprise, soon after Linda came to work for Dan as his personal assistant, funny, she didn’t know how to type. Dan had his very own Misses-A-Wiggins.
Betty continued to play her part of the loving wife of a successful lawyer. Doesn’t Betty look a lot like Meredith Baxter in this photo? That comment will become more ironic later.
Betty began to suspect Linda was more than just a devoted employee, catching Dan on vacation talking with his assistant and more clues, such as that. The shit hit the fan on Dan’s 39th birthday, when Betty came to his office to surprise him with roses and champagne. But Dan was no where to be seen. All she found were balloons and empty wine bottles. And, oh, did we mention? Linda the hose bag wasn’t there either.
In a fury, Betty headed back to the Coral Reef house and proceeded to make a bonfire of Dan’s expensive suits, as her children looked on. Atta girl. Dan continued to deny the affair through 1983, even though he would mutter Linda’s name while he slept. In this time, too, the Brodericks moved into a rental house, while a cracked slab was being repaired on Coral Reef.
Finally, in February 1984, Dan cited the affair as his reason for separating from Betty, but he did not apologize. He moved back to Coral Reef, and Betty was left with the kids in a rental. Needless to say, she was pissed. One time, she stopped over at Dan’s digs to see the kids and spotted a pie Linda had made for him. Well, nothing says, “enjoy” more than by spreading it over his bed and clothes, so Betty obliged. Cool. In return, Dan gave her a restraining order.
That was the beginning of much legal wrangling between the battling Brodericks, but due to Dan’s connections and knowledge, Betty usually got the short end of the stick to the point, the Coral Reef house was sold without her consent. Betty, again, was pissed, so she drove her Suburban through the front door of Dan’s new home (as you do) in the Marston Hills area of San Diego.
And still, Betty was not divorced. Dan was eventually ordered to give her a temporary allotment of $16,000 a month to live off (quite generous, until you realize he was pulling in $300,000 a month.).
Betty also had a bad habit of leaving charming messages on Dan’s answering machine. Here’s just a sample: “This is a message to fuckhead and the bitch. You have one hell of a nerve dumping the kids here on the sidewalk and zooming away without making any attempt to communicate with me about my plans for the weekend. Make me sick, both of you. I have a good mind to dump the kids back on you and drive away. Call me. We have a lot to talk about, asshole.”
Dan and Linda (known affectionately as “the cunt” by Betty) got tired of the messages, and began to fine Betty $100 for every curse word left on their answering machine. One month, after her then $9,000 allotment, she owed Dan more than $1,000. I guess a potty mouth can cost you.
It was all supposedly over early in 1989, when a divorce was granted. But due to a provision in California divorce laws, called Epstein Credits, Dan, a multi-millionaire many times over, only had to pay less than $30,000 to his wife of 20 years. Three months later, he married Linda. Betty wasn’t invited to the nuptials, but security guards were.
The legal wrangling continued, though. On the morning of November 5, 1989, Betty sat at her table, looking at the two most recent letters sent by her ex-hubby’s attorney. One asserted she was not in the right frame of mind to fulfill her custody obligations, while the other slapped her hand for leaving more charming messages on the new Mr. and Mrs. Broderick’s answering machine.
Betty was pissed off and tired. She wrote, “I can’t take this any more,” on one of the letters and left the house. In her purse was a 38 caliber Smith & Wesson (‘Cause it’s got Wessonality!). Heading down Interstate 5, she drove to her ex’s new digs, so that she could “talk” to Dan. Arriving at 1041 Cypress Avenue, she tried to enter the house through the front door, but the key she had taken from her daughter’s purse didn’t work.
So, using the old adage (for your FYI),”Try, try, again,” Betty headed around back and tried the door there. Voila! She’s in!
She headed up the stairs to Dan and Linda’s master suite. Opening the door, Betty spotted Linda, who told Dan, “Call the police.” Bang! Bang! Linda finally shut up. Dan rolled out of bed, trying to reach the phone. Bang! No phone calls were being placed that morning, and to ensure that, Betty ripped the phone out of the wall. With this, Betty went back home. Want to see how the master bedroom looks today?
Betty turned herself in later that day. When she appeared in court, the four years of legal wrangling with Dan were evident in her appearance.
Her first murder trial ended in a hung jury, who heard the legal and psychological hell Dan put Betty through, while trying to conceal his affair and come out the victor in the subsequent divorce. The jury foreman was quoted after as saying, “We just wonder why it took her so long.” That had to be satisfying for Betty to hear.
The second trial in October of 1991 was more successful for the state, as the prosecution took off the gloves, ending with Betty convicted of two counts of second degree murder. She is now serving her 32-years-to-life prison term and will be eligible for parole in 2011.
Lifetime (“Television for Women”) made a movie about Betty’s story called A Woman Scorned. It was so popular, a sequel was made about the trial. Oh, and did we mention, Meredith Baxter played Betty? Funny how that worked out. Betty didn’t like the movie because they didn’t consult her for her side of the story.
Got some spare change? Looking to move up? Dan and Linda’s murder house was recently on the market, with a variable range price of $2,895,000 to $3,2250,876. By the way, the master bedroom has been remodeled. Up till the mid-90s, Betty and Dan still — on paper — owned a timeshare together in Warner Springs. Guess neither will be using it.
Update Feb 2015: Fuckhead and Bitch get Death Hagged.