Oct 22, 12
Read from August 13 to October 22, 2012
Betty Broderick came to fame in late 1989 when she shot her ex-husband Dan Broderick and his new wife, Linda Kolkena to death in their bed. What viewers got to see was a long, drawn out custody battle over their four children, and of course, money. What viewers of the two murder trials didn't get to see was the manipulations, abuse, and gaslighting that Dan did to Betty.
In 1983, Dan began an affair with his legal secretary, Linda. When Betty asked if he was cheating on her, Dan said no. Dan said he wasn't cheating on his wife of 20 years for the first three years of his affair. When he finally admitted his affair, Betty burned his clothes. When Dan walked out on her, and into the arms of his lover, Betty drove their four children, one at a time, to Dan's new house and dropped them off outside. Betty's thought was, I raised them, now it's Dan's turn. She expected Dan to give up immediately, and return the children to their mother. When he didn't, he turned his newfound custody into a legal battle.
Dan, who had gotten a medical degree and a law degree while Betty raised their two oldest and worked odd jobs to support them, was now President of the San Francisco Bar Association, and because of his status and clout, was able to drag Betty through the court system, and have her lose at every turn. Betty, arguing that she wasn't getting a fair trial, had several judges tell her that she was getting her fair trial. Anyone with half a brain knew that Betty was getting the short end of every deal, including being thrown in jail for cursing her ex-husband out on his answering machine.
Many people wondered what took Betty so long to finally shoot her ex and his new wife. Especially after telling anyone who would listen for years that she was going to kill them. What smart people can also see is that when Dan walked out, he took with him, what was left of Betty's mind. Betty went crazy, and was not treated as such. For both of her murder trials, her attorney was put on a short leash in what he could and could not present to the jury. The prosecution got no such restraints. Betty was also not allowed to plead insanity as a defense, tho anyone could see that she was insane.
This is a story about the injustices of justice, and how one woman got her revenge on a man who used his position in society to bury his wife.
As for the book itself, the first half was incredibly slow moving and very dull. Though this book came highly recommended, the minutiae that was included was a bit much, and much was repetitive. The second half moved along at a slightly faster pace, but was still slow. I became interested in the Betty Broderick case when I saw the two movies on Lifetime depicting her story and then her trials. Both movies were told from the prosecution side, and were factually incorrect.
I would only recommend this book to true die hard true crime fans, but with heavy reservations.