19 October 2008

Someone Owes Betty Broderick An Apology


This didn't occur to me until recently, when I was thinking about Mary Winkler. Mary Winkler, if you'll remember, essentially got away with murdering her husband while he slept. Her husband, Matthew, had discovered a check fraud scheme instigated by his wife. He had confronted her about it, and he was about to share his findings with the bank officials in an effort to get to the bottom of the whole mess.

Before he could do this though, his wife shot him while he slept. Mary Winkler took a shotgun, and blasted Matthew in the back and/or the head. When the wounded Matthew Winkler tried to dial 911 from the bedside phone, Mary pulled it out of the wall. Matthew Winkler was left to die over the next 20 minutes or so with his wife watching.

For what amounts to cold blooded, premeditated murder, Mary Winkler served a WHOPPING 67 days in a mental hospital-67 days! After that, she was allowed to go free. At her trial, Mary Winkler predictably invoked the pussy pass; she used it in the form of the good ole 'abuse excuse'. It works every time! Just ask Lorena Bobbitt. The authorities said "Dominos grace, you can go free now!" After her trial, a sympathetic Oprah Winfrey had Mary Winkler on her show, where she regaled Oprah and her audience with her lies of abuse. Mary Winkler also received $400,000 for book or movie rights to her story. That's what I call punishment for premeditated murder-not!

Mary Winkler's cold blooded murder of her husband reminded me of another woman who'd done likewise many years before; Mary Winkler reminded me of a 'kindred spirit', if you will. I thought of another woman who'd also murdered her husband, albeit for a more traditional, time honored reason-adultery & divorce. That has been a prime (not to mention primal) motive for murder throughout history. Finally, what this woman did would land her in jail, where she still is to this day. I'm talking about Betty Broderick.

While whole books and a plethora of news articles have been written about her, I'll simply give you the "Readers' Digest Condensed Version" of Betty Broderick's story as I understand and remember it. I'd heartily encourage my readers to Google Betty Broderick, and to read her story for themselves. Also, every once in a while, Lifetime TV has a two part movie about her, and I'd encourage you to watch them too. Based on what I was able to find out about Betty Broderick, the movies cover her story well. Meredith Baxter Birney, who portrayed Broderick, did a splendid job of playing Mrs. Broderick. Here, I'll just hit the high points...

There was a young couple, Dan & Betty Broderick. She put him through med school. Before he started practicing medicine though, Dan Broderick decided to attend law school, so Betty put him through law school too. After law school, Dan Broderick became a medical malpractice attorney. With his medical background, he became very successful as a medical malpractice attorney, as one would expect. He worked for one of San Diego's most prestigious law firms, then he went on his own. It didn't take long for Dan Broderick to start bringing in a million dollars a year, allowing him and his family to live in San Diego's exclusive La Jolla section. Back in the mid-late 1980s, life was starting to look REALLY good for Dan & Betty Broderick...

Before I go any further with what I know about the story, I must say that I actually corresponded with Betty Broderick. I wrote her once, and months later, I received a reply. By the time I got it, it had been so long that it took me a few seconds to remember writing her. She had just put her surname in the return address; she left out her first name. That said, even before I opened her letter, I could literally FEEL the hatred, the evil, and the hositility emanating from it! When I finally opened and read the letter, I was proven right.

What had I written to her? I basically said that, even if she'd been totally in the right, even if Dan had been a scumbag adulterer who'd abandoned his wife and family for no good reason, I asked her why didn't she LET GO of her anger and hatred? Why didn't she try to put the whole, sordid episode behind her, and GET ON with her life? I mean, whether we like it or not, life goes on; whether it's with us or without us, life WILL go on, will it not? Since life will go on regardless, isn't it better for us to go on WITH life, rather than getting left behind? I think so. Therefore, I think it's best for us to find a way to let go of our feelings for those unjust people & circumstances in our lives, and go on with life. I firmly believe that people will be rewarded or punished for their deeds; sooner or later, the law of sowing and reeping (aka karma in the Eastern religions) will reward us or punish us as we deserve. That is basically what I said in my letter to Betty Broderick. I truly tried to be neutral, since I know that many of these so-called 'docudramas' sometimes take liberties with the truth.

Well, I got HAMMERED in the reply! She cussed me out, telling me I was an idiot for believing the movies! She said how dare I tell her to let go of her children and not love them! She blew my hair back, big time. BTW, I NEVER told her that I believed the movies, nor did I tell her that she shouldn't love her children. What I DID say was, that if movies had been true about her and her marriage, why did she not MOVE ON with her life? Even if she had been the innocent victim here (I don't believe she was), if Dan HAD truly abandoned her and traded her in for a newer, younger woman, then why didn't she just ACCEPT THAT & MOVE ON? Why did she hang on to her hatred, anger, and hurt, rather than letting them go, and getting on with life? That is what I said. How could she make the leap to her crazy conclusions?! I was perplexed to say the least.

As a result of my correspondence with Betty Broderick, it is my opinion that the woman is mentally ill, mentally unbalanced, or all the above; there is clearly something WRONG with that woman! Since I'm not a mental health professional, I won't pretend to diagnose what specifically is wrong with her, but something was and is wrong with Betty Broderick. I'll go on and say that I think that she played a role in the disintegration of her marriage. I think she drove Dan away from her. I don't think Dan Broderick, her late and former husband, acted in a vacuum; I think he had good reason to leave Betty, and I can't understand why he didn't do it SOONER. While I don't think he was totally innocent in the whole mess, I think that Dan had good reason to leave Betty, and her subsequent conduct is proof of that.

Continuing with the story, according to the movie and what I read about the Betty Broderick story, Dan and the family took a vacation. They'd worked hard, and they'd sacrificed much to get to where they were; now that Dan was finally 'arriving', he wanted share the wealth with this family, and to thank a wife who had been very supportive of his efforts. When Dan suggested that he and Betty enjoy some quality time alone (i.e. marital intimacy), Betty rebuffed his advances. The couple had a public fight. For whatever reason(s), the marriage between Dan & Betty Broderick went downhill from there, and it culminated in his murder.

As Dan established his law practice, a pretty young lady by the name of Linda Kolkena came to work for him. She started as his receptionist, and she progressed from there. In addition to having a professional relationship, a romantic relationship blossomed between the two as well. And why wouldn't it? She was, by the accounts I read, pretty, vivacious, and fun to be with. Please remember that this was during the 1980s, BEFORE Catherine Mackinnon's sexual harrassment lunacies became law and public policy throughout the land; back then, one could safely date a coworker or subordinate, and not worry about it. Linda Kolkena was the perfect balm for Dan, who by this time was undergoing a very NASTY divorce with Betty.

How nasty did the divorce get? Well, it was nasty enough that Betty drove her vehicle IN to Dan's house, caving the wall in! Betty would also leave nasty, obscene messages, calling Linda a slut, a whore, and other bad names. Betty's harassment got so bad that Dan took out a restraining order against Betty, and he GOT it! Unfortunately, this didn't deter Betty from her antics; she continued harassing Dan with increasingly hostile and provocative gestures. Her hostility would culminate in the murder of Dan and his new wife, Linda.

Betty Broderick couldn't accept the fact that her now EX husband, Dan, had moved on with his life. For whatever reason(s), she just couldn't let go. She decided to get a pistol, and she learned how to use it. One night, in a fit of jealous rage, Betty got in her car, and drove over to Dan's house. Betty broke in to the house, found the bedroom where both Dan & Linda were sleeping, and shot them both. In a jealous rage, Betty shot both her ex husband, Dan, and his new wife, the former Linda Kolkena.

Betty Broderick went to trial. She invoked the abuse excuse, and she ALMOST got away with murder. Unfortunately for her, the jury didn't acquit her; the jury was merely hung, so she could be tried again. Kerry Wells, a female prosecutor, saw through Betty Broderick's BS; Wells secured a conviction at the second murder trial. Betty Broderick was sentenced to two, consecutive prison terms of 15 years to life, and she will be eligible for parole starting in 2011.

Again, based on my personal contact with Betty Broderick (which was one of the CREEPIEST experiences of my life, BTW), I think Dan was justified in leaving her. Betty Broderick may have tried to ACT like a saint, she may have tried to play the innocent victim here, but she's full of it. I doubt that those who sympathize with Betty Broderick actually interacted with her as I did on one occassion-one occassion too many for me. Betty Broderick is sick in the head, and something is VERY wrong with her. As far as I'm concerned, pushed Dan away from her; as far as I'm concerned, Dan Broderick was JUSTIFIED in leaving her. Of course, he's dead, so he can't tell HIS side of the story, can he?

So, what's the point, MarkyMark? Why did you tell us this sordid story? As the comedian's joke goes, I told you all that to tell you THIS: Betty Broderick, who did basically the same thing as Mary Winkler would later do in March 2006, got convicted of murdering her husband. Meanwhile, Mary Winkler basically got away SCOT FREE; she GOT AWAY WITH MURDER! I don't know what anyone else would call it, but I do not call 67 days in a mental hospital just punishment; it's not even close! Therefore, someone owes Betty Broderick an apology. Then again, if Betty had only waited a few years, perhaps she could have gotten away with murder too, a la Mary Winkler...

Thanks to Mary Winkler getting away with murder, America has effectively declared OPEN SEASON on men! Let me repeat: America has declared OPEN SEASON ON MEN! You think I'm engaging in hyperbole? You think I'm being overly dramatic? Well, what would YOU call it when a woman can murder a man, invoke the abuse excuse, and GET AWAY with it? Even though Mary Winkler (like Betty Broderick before her) murdered her husband IN COLD BLOOD and got away with it, you think I'm off base, huh? What would you call it when, she not only got away with it, but also got rewarded for her deed, hmmm? I'd call it open season on men, thank you very much. Meanwhile, women weep, wail, and gnash their teeth, wondering why they can't find a good man-incredible! Thank you for reading, and good day...



Newfy Pearl said...

I think that had I received your letter I would have blasted you too. How dare you send her such a letter! Easy for you to give her this scolding on how she should have handled the situation.
Yes she probably needed help but remember that sometimes treatment one receives can make one act in a crazy manner whether one is sane or not.
It was a story of control (on Dan's part), entitlement (on Dan's part), misuse of power (on Dan's part). He held all the cards and pushed all the buttons.
while I do not condone murder I do see Betty as being the victim in this particular case.
To put your husband through school twice, provide the home suitable for his upward climb professionally, raise his children, and in the end be replaced by a younger version of yourself minus the brain cells!
Then to deal with a legal system tainted by his contacts and familiarity, a brazen young wife who taunts you, and having your children taken away.....I think the woman was bound to snap. Anybody would.
Now you may call me insane or wanting of some medical assistance....but I write this from a woman's perspective...I bet there are quite a few like me who 'get it' when it comes to Betty. Life is messy. Sometimes it is what it is.
But after all she has been through....to receive a letter from a man she does not know, offering unasked for comment and opinion on a topic that was obviously a very painful time in her life that she has been paying for ever since.....no wonder she was upset.

Unknown said...

Pearl, I am a mother and grandmother. I read the book over 20 years ago and have read it a few times since. The author of this blog had every right to write Betty. I almost wrote her myself about 6 months ago and I would have said similar things to her. The truth of the matter is, Betty is and has been mentally unstable since way before Linda ever came in the picture. I don't believe in cheating on a spouse but I do understand why Dan left her. Long before he left, she had thrown a ketchup bottle at him among other things. After Dan left she was the one harassing him not the other way around. Calling and leaving disgusting messages on his answering machine, verbally abusing her son Danny on the phone, breaking into his house to spray paint walls, break windows, and smear cake on his clothing. Stealing his wedding list and calling people on the list asking if the were really going to the wedding. Driving her Suburban through his front door while her children were inside. All of these behaviors are abuse on her part. Dan used the legal system to try and tone down her awful behavior and that never worked. I really believe that Betty was mentally unstable for years and she is just as much to blame for the break down in that marriage. For the record Betty did not get her children taken away. The month after Dan left her, she dropped the kids off one by one on his doorstep when he wasn't even home! She just drove off and left them. What kind of mother does that? A self centered one. She didn't get custody of her children because she refused to take them back without a huge cash settlement. She was also so unstable at this point the court wouldn't give them to her. That was Betty's biggest, biggest mistake was giving Dan the children. Had she just kept them and moved on with her life she would have ended up with more money. And the saddest part of this whole story is not Betty. It's the 4 children she orphaned. In one day, they lost both of their parents in a selfish act. I wanted to give you a perspective from another woman on this. I personally believe that she needs mental help. She will never get out of prison until she takes responsibility for what she did and I don't think she ever will. It's really a shame as she is missing out on her grown children and grandchildren.


it is no wonder betty lost her mind it was dan and linda that harassed, stalked, bullied, and abused betty plain and simple. plain and simple they got what they deserved they really should have gotten worse. dan was a drunk that only cared for himself a very evil man and linda was no better a gold digging whore everyone knows her reputation, getting fired from delta as a stewardess for having sex with a passenger, slepping with her x one month before the wedding to dan. she was mean and vindictive and without a doubt rotting in hell where she belongs. if betty had not shot them they would have killed her or the way the two of them slept around they probably would have died from aids.

Unknown said...

I know I'm reading this 3 or so years later but, you, my friend, are awesome. You've managed to articulate my observations, I greatly appreciate it. I wish to elaborate, but there's really no need.
*tidbit of info: They married while he's in medical school. They lived in his dorm room. A year later, while she working and supporting their family, they still live in the dorm, their brand new baby sleeps in a DRESSER DRAWER; he decides he wants to be a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Betty Broderick was harassed for years by her husband through the legal system. Had he settled that case like a big boy, Betty would likely have never had the psychological problems she gained throughout the legal process. Divorce should not occur in an adversarial system. He was abusive while she was married and that abuse escalated during the divorce. No divorce should take 5 years.

Truth said...

Linda "Whore" Kolkena and Dan Broderick got exactly what they deserved!! I hope that when Betty gets out, the first stop she makes is to piss on their grave!!

Truth said...

That whore Linda Kolenka and Dan Broderick got exactly what they deserved!! I pray Betty gets out soon! And the first stop she makes needs to be to piss on both of their graves!!

60's gal said...

To Truth Said, come on. Have some common sense. Calling Linda "whore" accomplishes nothing. Betty was no victim. The only victims were Betty and Dan's 4 children. Yes Betty worked her ass off putting Dan through school. And Dan was nothing short of being a cad to put it nicely. I've said it before and I'll say it again. No man is worth going to prison over. If Linda was a gold digger, well Dan fell for her. He chose her over the welfare of his children. Betty was highly educated. She and the kids could have moved on and let Dan and his honey to themselves. Chances are, Linda would have eventually divorced Dan for a younger, richer guy than he was. But here's the thing, 4 kids lost both of their parents because their parents and the bimbo Linda did not give them a second thought. 3 of the most selfish so called adults imaginable. Betty is where she belongs. I hope she is never released. Dan and Linda paid the ultimate price for their selfish actions. Isn't their deaths enough for you? Betty pissing on their graves proves nothing but that she would gladly take lives again to get her way. Remember who the true victims are. The 4 Broderick kids. Betty, Dan and Linda never gave them a thought through all their madness and selfishness.

Cs17 said...

Wow, you really over simplify things. In all the books and articles I have read on this, never once did I read that it was Betty' s denial of sex - let alone one time - that caused Dan to look elsewhere. You mention Betty' s crazy behaviors, but leave out the things Dan did to provoke her. I don't think murder is right. Betty obviously had some issues. That said, I find it offensive to equate her with a criminal who you say killed her husband for check fraud. Betty was not a criminal before or during her marriage until things went sour. I do think she had a nervous breakdown and fell apart over the whole mess. I don't think she ever recovered. I agree she should have gotten some kind of break for mental illness. Otherwise, I do d your analysis superficial in the extreme. I get it that you wondered why she couldn't just move on. I think it a bit naive to ask that of someone in prison for double murder. I do think that she is very narcissistic and people line that cannot take criticisms of any sort. Even re-reading "The Twelth of Never", she is quoted as wondering what she did wrong when she was a perfect wife and mother. Narcissistic people always think they are perfect, but no one is. I am still trying to figure things out here myself. I do think she got a raw deal from the courts. I think her husband and his wife treated her horribly. 20/20 hindsight, he should have given her the $1 million sum and $25,000/month she wanted. But he didn't want to give her anything. I doubt that situation could happen today. Laws have changed. He would not have been able to hide his money so well and there are sexual harassment laws now. It's hard to get to the bottom of everything, when all involved lied so much. It's hard not to have empathy for Betty when she was, and apparently still is, in so much pain due to her husband's betrayal.