A quest to gain freedom was denied Thursday for Elisabeth “Betty” Broderick, convicted of murdering her ex-husband and his new wife nearly two decades ago in San Diego.
The state Board of Parole Hearings voted after an afternoon hearing featuring testimony from Broderick and a number of family members. The one-time La Jolla socialite denied intending to murder the couple and said she was driven to it by the results of a bitter divorce and child custody battle.
Broderick covered the walls of her husband’s house in San Diego with black spray-paint and drove her car through his front door. She left angry, obscenity-laced tirades on his answering machine.
When she was arrested and tried in the early 1990s, she said she was the victim, telling a tale that many housewives could relate to, fearing being replaced by younger women. The case that led to several books and a pair of made-for-TV movies starring Meredith Baxter, is leading to strong emotions once again.
The two-person parole board claimed Broderick was unrepentant, had no insight into her crimes, and would be a danger if set free.
The denial was for the longest possible term of 15 years, though she could reapply for consideration in 2013 if she meets a number of conditions.
Broderick was convicted in 1991 and Thursday was her initial chance to request a release from prison.
Broderick, now 62, was found guilty of second-degree murder in 1991 for shooting to death former husband and local lawyer Daniel Broderick, 44, and Linda Kolkena Broderick, 28.
The couple were shot as they slept in the bedroom of their Park West home Nov. 5, 1989. Betty Broderick never denied pulling the trigger.
However at a pair of sensational televised trials she said she was driven to do it after going through a bitter divorce, and she said she was abused emotionally and psychologically.
All of that was of little concern to the parole board. It heard from more than a dozen of Daniel Broderick’s family, along with Broderick herself.
Broderick was tried twice. The first jury deadlocked, unable to determine whether she was guilty of murder or the lesser charge of manslaughter. After a second jury convicted her of second-degree murder she was sentenced to 32 years to life in prison.
Given what appears to be an unrepentant Betty Broderick, the parole’s board decision was correct in keeping a double-murderer behind bars. Whether she is really a threat to the public is another story.
At the end of the day, Betty Broderick murdered two innocent people and should serve her full sentence.