Convicted murderer Betty Broderick killed her ex-husband, Daniel T. Broderick III, by shooting the 44-year-old while he was asleep in bed with a .38-caliber pistol. She also killed his second life, Linda Kolkena, who was 28 at the time.
The murders took place at 5:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, November 5, 1989. Betty Broderick snuck into the house after stealing one of her daughter’s keys, KGTV reported. “She was hellbent on getting her pound of flesh, hellbent on revenge,” Deputy District Attorney Richard Sachs told the news outlet.
Kolkena died instantly, with two bullets hitting her–once in the chest and another time in the neck, People magazine reported at the time. Dan was hit with one bullet hit Dan his chest. One bullet hit the wall and another hit the nightstand. Betty Broderick recalled that Dan’s last words were, “OK, OK, you got me.” Their daughter Lee, however, testified that her mother said Dan’s last words were, “OK. You shot me. I’m dead.”
Broderick said she didn’t remember shooting her ex or Kolkena, but she knew that it couldn’t have been anyone else. “I don’t know that it was a conscious act. I had no idea I fired five times,” she told The New York Times.
Betty Broderick Said She Was ‘Emotionally Battered’ by Dan
Broderick confessed to the killings, though she claimed it was self-defense, saying Dan “emotionally battered” her. “He traded me in for a younger model and stole my kids,” Broderick said from prison, according to the publication. “He sued me to death…. My story is relevant to millions of women.”
Betty Broderick resented Dan for taking away their four children and her money. She told the New York Times he abused her financially. “His was the white-collar way of beating you,” she said. “If he had hit me with a baseball bat, I could have shown people what he did and made him stop.”
She maintained that Dan provoked her, claiming that the $16,000 per month he paid her wasn’t enough. He had custody of their four children and she had no visitation rights. He took retraining orders out against her that she broke, including driving her car into the front of his house. Dan also sold their home without her consent. She went to jail three times and spent three days in a mental facility.
“It was an absolute rewind of the hell of the last years,” Betty Broderick told the Times. “I knew I was not going to wake up another morning in the same position.”
The Brodericks’ daughter, Kim, said Dan didn’t have a choice when it came to her mother. “I didn’t like it that Dad got restraining orders against her, but what could he do?” Kim told People magazine. “When he tried to deal with her, she screamed obscenities. Now at least he’s living in peace. He’s probably better off.”
She described them as having a volatile relationship. “Sometimes they would get ready to go out and she would change her mind at the last minute,” Kim, 21 at the time, revealed. “Finally, Dad went alone. Then she’d get mad and lock him out.”
Betty Broderick Suffered From Mental Illness
According to one psychiatrist at her trial, Betty Broderick suffered from dual-personality disorders, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Amanda Peet, who plays Betty Broderick in Season 2 of Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story, said showrunner Alexandra Cunningham wanted to show the killer’s mental anguish.
“We weren’t interested in doing an imitation of her real life,” Peet told Entertainment Weekly in an exclusive interview. “What Alexandra was really passionate about was the psychological torture and how she showed signs earlier in her life that this could have happened.”
At parole hearings in 2010 and 2017, Betty Broderick wasn’t sorry for her crimes. “She was unrepentant, unremorseful, and callous,” Sachs said, as noted by KGTV. “From the first days she plotted the crime and committed it, she’s basically stuck in the same place.”
She was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to 32 years to life in prison. Her next parole hearing isn’t scheduled until January 2032, though it could be moved up.
Don’t miss Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story when the true-crime murder debuts on Tuesday, June 2 at 9 p.m. ET on USA Network.
READ NEXT: Who Is the Real Betty Broderick?