In America, at least half of marriages end in divorce. Most of the time, people move on with their lives, but sometimes divorce ends in a twisted story of revenge, which shocks the whole society.
In this article, we are discussing one of the 80s stories where an ex-wife shot her husband and his new wife in their bedroom.
Yes, we are talking about the murder of Daniel Broderick and his second wife, Linda Kolkena, at the hands of his former wife, Betty Broderick.
Many people in court and in public took Betty’s side after hearing her side of the story, and others blamed her for killing her husband Daniel just because he wanted to move on with his life.
So, in order to get a better understanding of what led up to this crime, I suggest reading this article to the end.
Early Life and Family
Linda Kolkena, the second wife of Daniel Broderick, was born on 26, 1961, in the Utah City called Salt Lake. Although she was an American catholic, her parents were Danish who migrated from Denmark to America in search of better opportunities in the 1950s. Linda Kolkena had four elder sisters, and they were raised in a pure catholic environment.
She was raised with the same concept that was popular in America back in the 70s, in which women were considered to be a homemaker. She was not encouraged to get a college degree along with her sisters.
Her mother left the world due to cancer when she was 11 years old girl. As a result, Linda’s father remarried to raise his daughters.
In one of the interviews, Maggie Seats, the older sister of Linda recalled her upbringing and said,
Our expectation was to grow up and have children. You worked to work, not to have a career. We weren’t cultured that way. The man would always be the breadwinner.Source: Bella Stumbo’s book, Until the Twelfth of Never
So, after finishing school, Linda decided to find a job suitable enough to feed her till she found a perfect husband who would take her responsibility.
Nature has blessed Linda with natural beauty, complimenting her charming and lively personality. These characters help Linda to get the job as a Delta Airlines stewardess.
When she started out, she did her job well, but one day, she made a mistake and kissed a passenger in the bathroom. This incident was quickly reported to management, and poor Linda was fired based on “conduct unbecoming a Delta employee.”
After this experience, she started working for an attorney in Atlanta but shortly left and moved to San Diago with her boyfriend. While working there, she met Daniel Broderick, her future husband.
Betty Broderick Bio
Born under the name of Elisabeth Anne Bisceglia on November 7, 1947, her family had Irish lineage, and she was the third child out of six children her parents had. She was raised in Eastchester, New York, where she was born. According to Fashionuer, her friends, and her family, Betty was a polite girl with good manners.
Betty always wanted to get higher education, and after completing high school, she took admitted to Mount Saint Vincent College.
One day she went with her friends to watch a football game at the University of Notre Dame in 1965. It was the day she met Daniel Broderick III, who was at that time 21 years old and studying to earn a medical degree from Cornwell University.
Their love for each other was instantaneous, and they immediately embarked on their romantic journey.
During this time, Betty completed her degree in Childhood Education. Daniel Broderick III was famous as Dan among his college friends and was considered one of the dapper guys of the college. Betty, on the other hand, was regarded as a shy girl.
As Betty and Dan were both from Irish Catholic backgrounds, they decided to solidify their relationship through marriage.
On April 12, 1969, Betty and Daniel took vows in a lavish ceremony surrounded by their friends and family.
It was a dream come true for this newlywed couple as they started their practical life together.
Betty Life with Daniel Before Linda
Within the first year of marriage, the couple was blessed with a beautiful daughter, strengthening their relationship.
But then, all the burden fell on the shoulders of poor Betty because her husband decided to pursue his career in law as a malpractice attorney after getting a medical degree. So, in 1970, Daniel took admission into a three-year law program at Haward Law School.
Now the couple moved to Boston, where Dan continued his education and Betty worked low-income jobs just to provide food on the table.
She was managing home and was working overtime just to help her husband so that he could continue his education. After three years of hardship, Dan finally completed his job and started his professional career as a malpractice attorney.
Daniel got a job at a prestigious law firm in San Diago, and the family had again moved with Dan to San Diago. After getting all the experience he needed, Daniel left the firm and started his own law firm in the city, which after a few years, became quite successful, and he started earning six figures every month.
Their children were going to private schools; she was throwing lavish parties as Mrs. Daniel Broderick in their beautiful house in La Jolla, buying expensive dresses and every striking thing she wanted. At that time, Daniel and Betty had everything they had ever dreamed of.
The couple also had country club memberships, a ski condo, a Corvette, and a boat. So now you can imagine the life Betty and Dan were living.
Daniel Met Linda
In 1982 Daniel, who was 38 at that time, met Linda in his office basement, and he was mesmerized by her natural looks and killer smile.
At that time, Daniel was the head of his own medical malpractice law firm, so he offered Linda the job of his paralegal for $30,000. That was a huge salary for Linda, a 24-year-old who didn’t know how to type, had no legal experience and didn’t even have a college degree. Linda happily accepted the offer and started working in his office.
When Betty knew about this new hiring, she was relieved because she thought that now Dan had someone in his office to share his burden and he would spend more time with his family, but things happened completely opposite to her thoughts.
Betty started noticing a change in her husband’s behavior which was pretty normal for people his age as they were going through midlife crises. Daniel bought a red sports car which was too loud for his taste. He changed his cologne and even started wearing shades.
Dan started spending more time in the office, and when Betty complained, he simply said that his business was flourishing and needed more time to manage it. Betty at first believed her husband because she always thought that he was loyal to her.
Betty and Linda’s First encounter
Over time, Betty started feeling a change in her husband’s behavior, raising the alarm in her mind. One day at a party, Betty was standing next to her husband, and suddenly Linda Kolkena entered the room. Betty noticed a sudden change in her husband, and later she heard her husband calling Linda beautiful.
Betty calmed her thoughts at the time by thinking,
That girl had nothing on me. I am prettier, smarter, classier; she is a dumb, uneducated tramp with no background or education, or talent. He will definitely get over it.Source: Betty’s statement in The L.A. Times
Sadly, this was not a crush, and Dan’s love for Linda just got stronger and stronger every day.
Poor Betty tried her best to win over her husband by taking aerobics classes, going to the parlor frequently, and even buying self-help books that have tips to save a failing marriage. Nothing worked to save her house.
Daniel Birthday Surprise
On November 22, 1983, in order to mend their relationship, Betty decided to give her husband a surprise visit to his office with a birthday cake. When she arrived at his office, she found a birthday decoration in the office along with a half-eaten cake.
Betty also found the pictures of Dan and Linda Kolkane on the table. Betty then asked Dan’s secretary, who told her that Linda and Daniel had gone for lunch. Betty had been waiting for them for hours in the office, but she decided to go home.
I waited till like five. They never came back. And that’s when I saw the refrigerator and my wedding crystal and all this imported wine. And the stereo. And his picture on [Linda’s] desk. Only it was a picture that was taken of him before we were married.Source: San Diego Reader
Betty, upon reaching her home burned all the clothes from Dan’s wardrobe. The couple started fighting more frequently, and Betty ordered her husband to get rid of Linda as soon as possible. She said to Dan,
It’s bad enough you’re going to have an affair with this person, but now you’re going to pay her to be with you twelve to fourteen hours a day while I’m home alone with the kids. Get rid of her by October 1 or get out of my house.
After two years of constant fighting, in February 1985, Daniel finally decided to leave the house and start a new phase with Linda. This further saddened Betty, and she started blaming Linda for all the mess in her life. Daniel also told his wife Betty that he wanted to file for divorce and would end this relationship once and for all.
Daniel started a new life with Linda
Daniel moved with Linda into their new house in 1984. When Betty heard the news, she was furious and broke into their new house. She took spray paint with her and painted their new bedroom.
This was the beginning of the crossfire between Linda and Betty. Dan started supporting his girlfriend instead of his wife and filed a restraining order.
In one of her interviews, Betty blamed Linda for sending a letter to her with a photo of Linda and Dan and words written, “Eat your heart out, b***h.” Betty further said that Linda used to send her advertisements for wrinkle cream and weight-loss products.
Linda wanted a fresh start with her love Dan but always thought Betty was the reason for causing trouble in her life.
In 1988 Daniel surprised her by proposing to her, and she instantly said yes, but she was afraid of Betty.
Daniel and Betty’s Divorced was finalized
Betty left her children in her husband’s new house in an attempt to put pressure on his husband, but he was happy to receive his children, and all the children settled in the new house. Their divorce battle continued for five years, and it was considered one of the messiest battles in the history of San Diego County. Dan agreed to pay $9,000 a month in case of alimony.
Throughout this whole legal battle, Betty would often leave a message on their home phone. Dan would deduct £76 ($100) from her £6,800 ($9,000) per month payment for every expletive message she sent.
In a legal notice he sent Betty on November 1, 1989, Dan warned her that criminal contempt charges may be brought if she didn’t stop sending insulting and threatening messages on his and Linda’s house phone.
Betty’s divorce settlement was finalized in January 1989, which was unfair as she didn’t receive an equal share of her husband’s property and assets. She also lost custody of her four kids. Betty shared her thoughts about the divorce settlement and told The New York Times.
He took my home, my kids, my money. His was the white-collar way of beating you. If he had hit me with a baseball bat, I could have shown people what he did and made him stop.Source: The New York Times
Linda and Daniel’s Wedding
Linda and Daniel officially tied the knot on April 22, 1989, in their new mansion in the presence of friends and family. According to Linda’s sister, she was very happy on that day as her dream of getting married came true. Linda used the same wedding china and stationery that Betty used for her wedding, and she also hired the same photographer for her wedding, which further enraged Betty.
Linda was also scared of Betty and begged her soon-to-be husband to wear a bulletproof vest at the ceremony. Dan refused but hired security guards in order to avoid any unfortunate event. Shortly after getting married, the couple left for the Caribbean to spend their honeymoon.
Betty Murdering her ex-husband and Linda
In November 1989, less than a year after they married, Betty used a key that she stole from her daughter to enter Dan and Linda’s home.
Upon entering the house at 5:30 am, Betty went straight to their bedroom, where Linda and Dan were sleeping. According to Betty, she started shooting “real fast, no hesitation at all.” The bullets hit Linda in the face and chest. Daniel woke to the shooting noise and tried to grab their phone to call the police, but he was quickly stopped by Betty. His last words were, “OK, you shot me. I’m dead.“
After killing her ex-husband and his wife, she called her daughter and told her about the situation. She then walked to a nearby police station and turned herself in for the murder of her ex-husband and his wife.
What Happened to Betty
After the arrest, Betty’s trial was started in court. She told the court that all she did was self-defense after facing psychological and emotional abuse from her former husband and his wife. Further, she told the court that she sacrificed her career for this one person who left her in the middle of the road after achieving all the success they had worked together for.
Betty’s case became one of the most high-profile cases in the USA. The people of America were divided on this case. Some people blamed Daniel for all the mess and for abusing his wife, who stood with him in his time of need, and others accused Betty of taking revenge on her husband instead of moving on in her life. Betty blamed her husband’s emotional abuse for her action and said,
I would’ve been fine. I would’ve had my house, my kids. I would’ve still worn a size 6. I could’ve done my ‘superior’ dance.Source: Los Angeles Times
In 1990 Betty’s first trial started, which ended in a hung jury because some jury members showed sympathy for the murderer Betty and one of the members even supported her decision.
A second trial began in 1991, and Betty was convicted of the murders of her ex-husband, Daniel, and Linda Kolkena Broderick.
In one of the interviews, Daniel and Betty’s daughter said,
Mom was always kind of weird. Mom would get mad at Dad all the time. Once Mom picked up the stereo and threw it at him. And she locked him out constantly. He’d come around to my window and whisper, ‘Kim, let me in.’
Betty is now 73 years old, and she requested parole in 2010 and 2017, which was rejected by the court. She will be 84 when she’s eligible for parole again in 2032.
Her own children split on the matter of their mother’s parole in 2010. Her son said that she didn’t deserve parole, but her daughter asked the court to release her mother on parole because she is not a danger to society.
Where is Betty Broderick now
Today, Betty Broderick is serving a sentence at the California Institution for Women in Chino, California prison. To this date, her story has been the subject of an Emmy-nominated movie and multiple documentaries. Moreover, her story has also been the subject of a Dirty John season which further increased the popularity of the case. The books written about this case are,
1. Until the Twelfth of Never: The Deadly Divorce of Dan & Betty Broderick.
2. Forsaking All Others: The Real Betty Broderick Story
3. Hell Hath No Fury: A True Story of Wealth and Passion, Love and Envy, and a Woman Driven to the Ultimate Revenge
Betty also wrote an autobiography to tell her side of the story under the name of Betty Broderick: Telling on myself.