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Heaven has No Rage as Love to Hatred Turned, nor Hell a Fury like a Woman Scorned

Hell has no great a fury as a woman scorned is William Congreve’s famous misquote, but we get the idea. Betty Broderick, the scorned ex-wife and former American suburban housewife of a successful lawyer in La Jolla, San Diego, did not. The Broderick story was typical: Betty was a beautiful woman when her husband, Dan Broderick, married her some years earlier, but by middle age Betty was no beauty, carrying significant added pounds and expressing unbridled bitterness towards Dan for working long hours and not being at home. Eventually Dan began an affair with a beautiful, young woman who bore an eerie resemblance to a younger Betty.

Dan denied the affair until after 3 years he asked his wife for a divorce. She refused but Dan moved out of their home and began legal proceedings to dissolve the marriage so he could marry his mistress, Linda Kolkena. The situation overwhelmed Betty. Knowing she should accept fate, she could not control the anger that had been building  inside her. She harassed Dan and Linda day and night: she broke into their home and vandalized it; she called them on the phone at all hours, snarling obscenities about the relationship to anyone who answered, including her children. Throughout the divorce, Betty’s behavior became increasingly violent. watch american justice ep 11 betty broderick

Broderick vs. Broderick became one of the most notorious divorces in the United States, gaining so much notoriety that the Oprah Winfrey Show contacted Betty to secure an interview about acrimonious divorces. Betty declined.  Finally after 4 years the Broderick divorce was finalized. Dan purposely dragged the divorce out for four years. Under California divorce law, the supporting spouse (Dan), may financially charge the dependent spouse (Betty),  not from the date of divorce, but from the date of separation. Dan Broderick, multi-millionaire and the father of Betty’s four children, only paid his wife of 20 years less than $30,000 in cash. In addition, Dan was re-awarded custody of the children.

By 1988, nothing of the once-proud Betty remained. Her mind frayed, she let everything else go haywire. “It was (now) a radically changed Betty Broderick abroad in the streets of La Jolla,” explains Bella Stumbo. “All personal vanity was gone, buried beneath layers of fat. Her language was now so routinely crude, even in polite gatherings, that old friends…lectured her about her foul mouth…By then she was pacing the floors of her house all night…Her mind gave her no rest; the late-night demons besetting her were relentless, vicious…” watch american justice ep. 11 betty broderick

Seven months after Dan and Linda were married, Betty shot and killed the couple in their home while they slept. The murder occurred at 5:30 am on the morning of November 5, 1989, two days before Betty’s 42nd birthday. Two bullets hit Linda in the head and chest, killing her instantly. One bullet hit Dan in the chest as he reached for a phone, one bullet hit the wall, and one bullet hit a night stand. At her trial, Betty denied that she had planned on murdering the couple. When asked why she had brought a handgun into the home that night, she replied “because I wanted him to listen to me.” She claimed that if he wouldn’t, she would commit suicide and “splash [her] brains all over his goddamn house.” Betty’s trial ended in a hung jury when two of the jurors cited lack of intent. watch betty broderick trial testimony

The second trial ended with a verdict of two counts of second-degree murder. Betty was sentenced to two consecutive terms of 15 years to life, the maximum under the law. Betty has been incarcerated since the day she committed the murders. Betty Broderick is serving out her sentence at the California Institution for Women (CIW), in Corona, California. In January 2010, her first request for parole was denied by the Board of Parole Hearings because she did not show remorse and did not acknowledge wrongdoing. Broderick is due to be released in 2021 and can reapply for parole in 2013. watch broderick parole hearing  

Betty’s story was dramatized across the United States. Betty granted interviews to virtually every television show, reporter, and magazine who contacted her. Betty appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show twice, Hard Copy, 20/20, and Headliners and Legends. At least three books were written about her story (Until the Twelfth of Never: The Deadly Divorce of Dan and Betty Broderick, 1993, by Bella Stumbo; Forsaking All Others: The Real Betty Broderick Story, 1993, by Loretta Schwartz-Nobel; Hell Hath No Fury, 1992, by Bryna Taubman), and Betty was interviewed by Ladies Home Journal and countless other magazines. watch betty broderick blasts justice system in a letter

12 thoughts on “Heaven has No Rage as Love to Hatred Turned, nor Hell a Fury like a Woman Scorned

  1. They got exactly what they deserved. Dan was an adulterous swine and his new “wife” was a low-rent pig. The movie was a joke. The only people “consulted” were his brother Larry( a lying piece of trash) and her sister( obviously just stupid). The real story was written by an unbiased reporter Bella Stumbo. It lays out exactly how abused by the legal system Betty was and ultimately pushed to end her agony by getting rid of the torturers. You have paid your debt Betty. It’s time to let her out!

      1. She killed two horrible beasts that made her life a living Hell. She was going to commit suicide in front of them, but they couldn’t wait for her to kill herself before they started laughing at her. I doubt she is a threat to anyone else. Would you laugh in the face of someone that is about to commit suicide?

      2. I fail to share your perspective. We have only Betty’s word that she was going to commit suicide, and naturally, her word is questionable. She murdered these people as they slept, about three years after her separation from Dan Broderick. Betty Broderick was a pathological woman who couldn’t move on with her life.

    1. Betty is a psychotic pig who still thinks she was justified in murdering two defenseless people by sneaking up on them in their sleep and shooting them in cold blood. If the courts would have locked this fat loudmouthed bully up for a couple years when she broke into Dan’s house and vandalized it, maybe these murders would not have happened. By letting her get away with her outrageous, violent behavior over and over again the courts gave this psychopath the idea that she could do anything and get away with it. The prosecutors who failed to lock this lunatic up prior to these senseless murders are largely to blame for the deaths of two people in the prime of their lives. Until Betty gets some help and realizes that what she did was pure evil, she should stay right where she is.

    2. Amen! It’s a miracle that Betty or anyone could hold out for as long as she did. Yes, I would have killed him too. And now she is being raped by Scumbag Dan’s old legal cronies. And to top it all off, an award for honesty and ethics in the legal field is named in honor of this crafty dead villain.

  2. Imagine going wtiout for years, raising and oftentimes having to leave your little ones with a sitter so you can bring in money to help yourself and your young husband to get ahead. Once ahead he turns on you like a snake/not only viciously attacking you personally but his new girlfriend later wife doing the same. The one juror at the first trial put it all in a one sentence nutshell by saying “what took her (Betty) so long” (to kill them!). I agree wholeheartedly. D&L were vicious to Betty-they tried to destroy her but look who won out!

    1. I agree that her husband was a terribly selfish person, as was his mistress. I don’t agree that she had the right to kill them both, especially in their sleep when they were utterly defenseless. However, once she got over the shock of him leaving it was time to focus on herself and her children. She was educated, beautiful and had the means to start her life over. She could have started her own business for instance. Her life could have been exciting, but not without its obstacles like everyone’s. Now she will spend the rest of it behind bars. That was her choice and it was a foolish one.

      1. I couldn’t agree with you more Marilyn. It just disgusts me how people think Betty was justified in what she did. She made life hell for her husband and kids for years. Betty was only concerned about what she “could” get. I really don’t even think she loved Dan. While I don’t think it’s right to have an affair Betty had no right to murder two people. The children are the real victims here.

      2. Thank you for reading and answering. I agree about the children for certain. They always seem to be the real victims.

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