California socialite Betty Broderick broke into the house of her ex-husband and killed him and his new wife out of jealousy

May 28, 2020 01:00 PM
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Betty Broderick
AP Photo/San Diego Union-Tribune

Betty Broderick was a well-known socialite living a charmed life in San Diego.

She was married to Dan Broderick, a successful attorney. The couple had four children and lived in a lavish home. She was active in the community.

But things fell apart after 17 years of marriage, when Dan told Betty that he wanted a divorce. Months later, he married his 20-something secretary, Linda, who many said looked like a younger version of his ex-wife.

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.

Betty Broderick
AP Photo/San Diego Union-Tribune

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.

AP Photo/San Diego Union-Tribune

More than three decades later, Oxygen is releasing an episode of their long running show, Snapped, which focuses on the infamous case. The episode will feature experts, a former detective/first responder and those closest to the Broderick family. (The episode airs Wednesday, July 15 at 8 p.m. ET on Oxygen.)

"It just got bigger, and bigger, and bigger," one commentator says.

Broderick, now 72, sits in prison at the California Institute for Women. Her 2017 parole request was denied, and she is not eligible again for parole until 2032, when she's 84 years old.

While Broderick was unable to do an on-camera interview, she wrote a 4-page handwritten letter in 2017, expressing frustration at her continued incarceration. “I have no one to speak for me,” she wrote. “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.”

The Betty Broderick episode of Snapped airs Wednesday, July 15 at 8 p.m. ET on Oxygen.