“Angry Betty” Denied Parole, Will Serve More Time for Murders

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A scorned woman whose fury led to two deaths will remain in prison, having been denied parole. Elizabeth “Betty” Broderick, who was nicknamed “Angry Betty” by the media after her vengeful killing of her ex-husband and his new wife, showed no remorse for the crime during a parole hearing on Thursday.

Broderick was arrested and tried in the early 1990s for the shooting deaths, which took place in 1989. During the trial and afterwards, she portrayed herself as the victim of a marriage gone awry, because her husband, Daniel Broderick, had left her for his much-younger legal assistant. Following an acrimonious divorce—during which Daniel Broderick received full custody of the couple’s four children—Betty Broderick began to plot revenge.

She began calling her ex-husband and leaving angry, obscene messages on his answering machine. She stole her daughter’s key in order to enter Daniel’s house, in order to spray-paint his walls black. She drove her car into the house itself.

Betty Broderick also purchased a .38-caliber pistol and took shooting lessons. Then, early one Sunday morning, she entered the bedroom where Daniel, then 44, and his new wife Linda Kolkena Broderick 28, were sleeping and shot them both.

Broderick, now 62, claimed during her 1990 murder trial that she had intended to discuss the divorce with her ex-husband, and then to kill herself in his home, but instead shot the couple because she was afraid they would call police. Linda Broderick died instantly, while Daniel’s death was protracted, as his lungs filled with blood. While he lay dying, Betty Broderick ripped the telephone cord from the wall so that he could not call for help.

Defense attorneys painted a picture of Broderick as an abused spouse in the throes of a deep depression, while prosecutors and family members of the victims called her a liar and murderer who could not move past the rejection of being left for another woman. Broderick’s first trial ended in a hung jury; her second was a courtroom drama that captivated the nation and inspired several books and a made-for-television movie starring Meredith Baxter.

Broderick was convicted in 1991 and given consecutive sentences of 15 years to life, with an additional two years on a gun conviction.

Although 200 people had written letters to the parole board supporting Betty’s bid for freedom, she herself neither accepted responsibility, nor showed remorse, for the killings. Her parole, therefore, was denied.

“Angry Betty” Broderick will not be eligible for another parole hearing until 2025—the maximum time allowed by the law.

 

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