In a brutal slaying that many San Diego residents still remember, former San Diego socialite Betty Broderick murdered her ex-husband, a San Diego attorney, and his new wife in 1989.
Now, after two decades, Angry Betty is finally up for parole.
For the uninitiated, parole is an early release from prison. Whether parole is granted is determined by a parole board and if granted, carries several conditions imposed by the parole board. For example, a parolee may be required to check in with a parole officer at regular intervals or attend certain meetings or classes. If the parolee violates any of those conditions, she could potentially be sent back to prison.
Married in 1969 after meeting at a football game, Dan and Betty Broderick moved their way up the social ladder in San Diego, as Dan Broderick became a successful west palm defense attorney. But in 1989, after Dan left her for his legal assistant, Betty Broderick walked into the bedroom of the victims and shot them both in their sleep. Armed with a .38 caliber pistol, Betty shot both of her victims as they lay in their beds. Linda Broderick died instantly. Betty’s ex-husband, however, died slowly, with blood filling up his lungs.
The Broderick murder was a crime of passion, invoking emotions in the jury and effectively dividing them. There were those who felt that she deserved to be penalized. Then, there were the others, who sympathized with the story of the scorned and berated housewife.
At the end of the trial, Betty Broderick was convicted of second-degree murder. This was a lighter conviction than the prosecution sought, since the jury felt that Broderick’s crime was a crime of passion and not pre-meditated.
Her case was one of the first cases televised by Court TV and has been the subject of several books and a made-for-tv movie starring Meredith Baxter of Family Ties fame.
It remains to be seen whether the parole board will feel sympathy for Betty and release her early, or whether her late ex-husband’s prominence in the San Diego legal community will play a role in invoking contempt against her.
Either way, the fate of Betty Broderick remains to be determined.