Jailed for Shooting Her Ex-Husband and His New Wife, Betty Broderick Speaks Out: 'I Am a Political Prisoner'
It’s a tale as old as time: a rich, successful man divorces his fortysomething wife, only to replace her with a younger lookalike.
That’s what happened to Betty Broderick. After 17 years of marriage and four children, her husband, Dan, told her that he wanted a divorce. He then married his 20something secretary, Linda.
The split sent Broderick into a tailspin. On November 5, 1989, she snuck into her ex-husband’s home carrying a Smith & Wesson revolver. Finding him and his new wife, Linda, in bed, she opened fire. Two bullets hit Linda in the head and chest, killing her instantly; one bullet hit Dan in the chest. He died shortly afterward. Dan was 44; Linda was 28.
Betty Broderick was 41 when she shot her husband. She never denied the killing, but said she had been driven over the edge by years of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her ex-husband. She was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to 32 years to life in prison.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the story was everywhere, even landing in the pages of PEOPLE. Trial watchers couldn’t get enough of the love triangle gone bad.
Nearly three decades later, the Reelz Channel revisits Broderick’s crime in its docuseries, Murder Made Me Famous – and the show speaks to several key players in the case who do not ordinarily give interviews.
Broderick, now 69, sits in the California Institute for Women. Her January parole request was denied.
Unable to do an on-camera interview, Broderick sent a letter to the show’s producers. In the four-page, handwritten letter to Murder Made Me Famous producer Katie Dunn, she expresses frustration at her continued incarceration. “I have no one to speak for me,” she writes. “This was a case of domestic abuse: a pattern of coercive control that lasted throughout our marriage until the day I killed them.”
“I have met all criteria for parole and my release date was 2010,” she continues. “Now I am only a political prisoner. They have no reason to deny my parole.”
But San Diego Deputy District Attorney Richard Sachs disagrees, saying that the parole board made the correct decision. “She is completely unrepentant, you know,” he says, “and in complete denial that she murdered two innocent people. She just doesn’t see any of her own part in this at all, and turns around and blames it on them.”
Murder Made Me Famous combines reenactments, exclusive interviews and never-before-seen photos and video to tell the story of infamous murderers. The show is hosted by PEOPLE Senior Writer Steve Helling.
The Betty Broderick episode airs Saturday (8 p.m. ET) on the Reelz Channel.