‘Dirty John’ Season 2 is based on Betty Broderick and how she ended up killing her ex-husband and his second wife, Linda Broderick. The case was quite sensational when it came out in the early 1990s.
Who is Betty Broderick?
Betty Broderick was born in 1947 and grew up in New York. Her family was strict, and she later stated that she was trained to be a good housewife from an early age. In 1965, she met Daniel Broderick at the University of Notre Dame, at a party. The two soon fell in love and got married in 1969. Shortly after their marriage, Betty was pregnant with their first kid as she came back from their honeymoon. They have five children out of their marriage. Unfortunately, one of their children passed away within days of being born.
After the birth of their first child. Daniel completed his MD. He then decided to switch to law by obtaining a law degree. Thus, he enrolled at Harvard Law School. As Daniel continued to study, Betty became the provider for the household. The family moved to San Diego, California, as Daniel got placed in a law firm there. Betty continued to work part-time, selling Avon products and raising her children as a stay at home mother.
The couple’s relationship started falling apart in 1982 when Daniel hired 21-year-old Linda Kolkena as his legal assistant. Though he had an affair with her, he continued to deny the accusations made by his wife about the same. In any case, the marriage did not last long, and Daniel moved out seeking a divorce. He also came clean about his relationship with Kolkena. Their divorce was a media sensation, as it played out. Dan Broderick’s divorce attorney urged Judge William Howatt, Jr., to close the Broderick vs. Broderick trial because the couple’s four children would be psychologically harmed if details of the stormy divorce were made public.
The details were indeed astonishing as Betty had been fined numerous times and even spent days in county jail as she ignored court restraining orders, vandalized Dan’s home, left profane messages on his phone, and once even drove a car into his front door. Their children were home at the time. The legal battle went on for four years, and ended in 1989, with both of them legally divorced. The case also gained attention due to how Betty, who was married to Daniel for around 16 years, had spent several years working and taking care of the family while her husband finished both his MD and law school.
The same year of their divorce, Daniel and Kolkena got married. Betty Broderick ended up shooting them to death in their home on November 5, 1989, seven months later.
Betty Broderick surrendered herself. Her defense attorney, Jack Early, argued that she was emotionally and physically abused by her former husband, and was thus driven to commit the act of murder. But Kerry Wells, the prosecutor of the case, argued that she was leading a good life in a beach house, with a boyfriend and two cars, stating that it seemed very unlikely that she was abused by Daniel Broderick. Additionally, the prosecution used the expert analysis of Dr. Park Dietz, a forensic psychiatrist, to state that Betty had narcissistic personality disorders. The case ended in a hung jury. This is because two jury members could not find enough intent for manslaughter.
In the re-trial of the case the next year, she was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to two consecutive terms of 15 years for each murder. An additional two years were added for the illegal possession of a firearm. She later appeared in an interview with Oprah, in which she said, “I am sorry about this whole thing, but I’m mostly sorry that Dan Broderick chose to conduct our marriage and our family in his life, the way he did. There was no reason for it, and it was brutality, and we didn’t deserve that.”
Where is Betty Broderick Today: Is She Still in Jail?
Yes, at present, Betty Broderick is still in jail serving her sentence at the California Institution for Women in Chino, California. Her two prior requests for parole were denied. She is 72 years old now. According to a report, she is next eligible in 2032, but that can depend on factors like good behavior. (Feature Image Credit: AP PHOTO/SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE)
Read More: Where Are Betty Broderick’s Children Now?