Elisabeth “Betty” Broderick was convicted nearly 30 years ago in the shooting deaths of her ex-husband Daniel and his second wife, Linda Kolkena Broderick. Over the course of the trial, the defense argued Betty committed the crime in a heat of passion after enduring years of mistreatment from Daniel.
The two were married for 16 years when he left her and obtained sole custody of their four children. Ahead of the premiere of Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story on the USA Network, here’s what you need to know about Betty’s children, including the one who died shortly after he was born and her frequent miscarriages.
Betty and Daniel Lost a Son in The Mid-1970s
Betty and Daniel have four living children: Kim, who was born in January 1970; Kathy Lee, who was born in July 1971 and went by Lee as a child; Daniel IV, who was born in February 1976; and Rhett, who was born in February 1979.
According to Bryna Taubman’s book about Betty Broderick and the murders, titled “Hell Hath No Fury: A True Story of Wealth and Passion, Love and Envy, and a Woman Driven to the Ultimate Revenge,” Rhett Broderick was actually Betty’s eighth pregnancy since her wedding. There were the four pregnancies that produced children who are still alive today, two that ended in miscarriages, a baby boy was born who died shortly after birth in 1973, and one pregnancy that Betty terminated in 1974 when Kim was 4 and Lee was 2, saying she “needed to come up for air,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Betty became pregnant one more time after Rhett was born, in 1980, but, according to the book, after her doctor “warned that her varicose veins and other complications endangered her life, she decided to have an abortion and the surgery that would ensure she would not be pregnant again.”
During the trial, Judge Thomas Whelan ruled that Betty’s attorney, Jack Earley, could not mention the nine pregnancies, nor the miscarriages and abortions that ended four of them. According to the Los Angeles Times, Earley wanted testimony about Betty’s miscarriages and abortions to be included in order to demonstrate “what happens to a woman who has gone through that many pregnancies with a man. That’s a lot of hormonal changes.”
The LA Times also reported that at Betty’s first trial, which ended in a hung jury, a gynecologist testified that the Brodericks tried to have Betty’s tubal ligation (getting her “tubes tied”) reversed in 1984, one year after Daniel began his affair with Linda Kolkena, in order for Betty to try to have more children. The gynecologist was not permitted to testify at the second trial.
The Broderick Children Are Split on Whether Betty Should Be Paroled
In 2010, a Baltimore Sun article reported that at Betty’s parole hearing, two of her children thought she should be released and two did not. Kathy Lee (now going by Kathy) and Rhett thought their mother should be paroled; Kim and Daniel disagreed, which is in line with what happened at the original trial.
According to the Los Angeles Times, at the original trial, Kim testified for the prosecution and Kathy Lee testified for the defense.
At the original trial, Kathy Lee said that her father had a fearsome temper and often called her mother derogatory names, reported the LA Times. Lee also said that her father would “break things that would frustrate him” or kick the family dogs because he hated dogs.
“Nobody would want to disobey him or make him mad when he was home from work,” said Kathy Lee.
Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on USA.