Socialite Tells Plan of Suicide, Not Murder : Trial: Betty Broderick testifies she planned only to talk to her ex-husband, then kill herself. Instead, she shot him and his wife to death.


Saying she intended to kill herself because she “had no life left,” La Jolla socialite Elisabeth Anne (Betty) Broderick testified Wednesday that she crept into her ex-husband’s house, stole into his bedroom and fired the shots that killed him and his new wife.

Sobbing as she recounted the shootings, Betty Broderick said she planned only to talk to her ex-husband, Daniel T. Broderick, and to kill herself, “to splash my brains all over his . . . house,” when she entered his bedroom before dawn last Nov. 5.

After a bitter divorce that took four years and left her without her husband, custody of her children or an equal share of Daniel Broderick’s considerable assets, she felt as if she “was dead, been defeated, couldn’t fight anymore.”


In the dark room, standing in front of her ex-husband’s bed, where he was lying with his new wife, Linda Kolkena Broderick, Betty Broderick said she saw motion. But she said she remembers almost nothing else from that point on about the shootings, not even firing her gun.

“They moved, I moved and it was over,” she said.

Betty Broderick, who appeared to be holding back tears for hours during a second full day of testimony at her murder trial, did not hold them back as she recalled the shootings.

In the audience, her children, her family and her ex-husband’s family cried, too.

Kim Broderick, her eldest daughter, who testified last week against her mother and who sat Wednesday on the prosecution side of the courtroom, wept with two of her aunts and an uncle, Daniel Broderick’s sisters and brother.

Lee Broderick, Betty Broderick’s second child, who sat on the other side of the courtroom, behind the defense table with Betty Broderick’s brother, also brushed away tears.

Betty Broderick, 42, is charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of her ex-husband and his wife. If convicted, she could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Daniel Broderick, 44, was a prominent medical malpractice attorney and a former president of the San Diego County Bar Assn. Linda Broderick, 28, was his office assistant.

Betty Broderick has pleaded innocent and has been held since the day of the killings--when she turned herself in to police--at the Las Colinas Jail in Santee. She said Wednesday that in the weeks after she was jailed, she realized she was “happy to be locked in a dark, little, safe room where nobody could get me.”

When her trial began last week, defense lawyer Jack Earley conceded that Betty Broderick fired the shots that killed her ex-husband and his second wife. But, according to Earley, she did not have the premeditation the law requires for first-degree murder because she only intended to kill herself when she crept into the couple’s home.