Dan Broderick was one of California's most successful attorneys. His wife, Betty, was a beautiful socialite. But when Betty discovered Dan's hidden life, the façade of LaJolla's golden couple was shattered. What followed was a vicious five-year battle that finally ended in a shocking double-murder. Dan was a Harvard Law School graduate who, according to Betty, manipulated the law to strip Betty of everything she loved: her home, her friends--even her children. When she frantically tried to fight back, he had her committed to a mental hospital. Consumed by hatred and thoughts of revenge, Betty's rage exploded on the night of November 5, 1989. Before the sun rose the next day, Dan Broderick and his lovely new wife were dead--their bullet-riddled bodies wrapped in the blood-soaked sheets of their bed.
The prosecution claimed it was a clear a case of premeditated murder. Betty claimed she had gone over to the house to talk to Dan - or maybe to commit suicide in front of him - but when someone shouted, ‘Call the police’, she got flustered and started firing.
Betty Broderick was acquitted of first degree murder in her second trial but found guilty of second degree murder.
To some, Betty Broderick is virtually the patron saint of the sanctity of marriage, executing her abusive, cheating husband and his "nineteen year old college dropout of a Polack whore" (actually Linda was twenty-eight and a professional paralegal). To others, Dan Broderick suffered his wife’s abuse of him for fourteen years of marriage, left her well provided for and then married the love of his life, only to be continually stalked for seven years, and ultimately killed.
We will try to look at both sides of this case and discuss how a marriage can go so horrible wrong. If Betty were a man, there would be no question of her guilt. Did Betty use feminism and nationwide concerns of domestic abuse to build a cause for women scorned? Or, was she just a jealous, violent woman?
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