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Drive for Success in Ex-Husband’s Notes

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In a 1976 Marriage Encounter session, Daniel Broderick dwelt on material success and his own death, told his then-wife that he felt time was short, said he would be a “more loving” person when he had more money, and asked her to wait for him to become wealthy, according to comments he recorded during the session.

“Mind you, I’m not saying there ever will be a good time for me to die, but the earlier, the worse, especially if I haven’t at least reached my goal of material success,” Daniel Broderick wrote.

“I honestly believe,” Daniel Broderick told his wife, Elisabeth Anne (Betty) Broderick, that having the ability to buy material things without regard to cost will “make me happy and secure and will make me a more loving and more lovable person.”

Only after establishing himself as an attorney and acquiring “certain necessary possessions,” Daniel Broderick said, could he “indulge the luxury of being an attentive, thoughtful person.”

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Six years later, Daniel Broderick attained that financial security, Betty Broderick said repeatedly in testimony this week at her double-murder trial. The next year, she said, he began an affair with Linda Kolkena, his office assistant, an affair he confirmed months later.

Instead of the security Daniel and Betty Broderick believed money would bring, he left her in 1985, began a divorce battle that took four years and, when it was over in 1989, married Linda Kolkena, Betty Broderick said.

Accused of murdering her ex-husband and his second wife, Betty Broderick said this week at her trial that she often privately referred during their divorce to the comments he recorded in a booklet at the 1976 counseling session, a weekend encounter affiliated with the Catholic church.

She said she read her ex-husband’s assertions to “assure myself I wasn’t a nut, I wasn’t crazy, I did have a certain understanding” of commitments he had made to her that weekend. Those comments, transcribed into a typed legal exhibit, were shown Friday to jurors at Betty Broderick’s trial. They marked the first words from Daniel Broderick at his ex-wife’s trial.

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“Dear Bets,” he began his booklet, using one of his nicknames for her. A few lines down, he said, “I feel lately that time is running out on me.”

He said he wanted “financial security now so that I can get on with the important things in life.”

“I have made you sacrifice . . . perhaps even more than me. I want time to pay you back, to make it up to you, to reward you for all the deprivations, I want you to be happy, content, secure. To feel like the sacrifices were worth it. I want to go on living so that I’ll have time to accomplish this.”

“I want to make it--for myself, for you and for the kids,” Daniel Broderick wrote.

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At another point, he wrote, “I want to be a responsible, sensitive husband and father. I want to be the type of person who will genuinely be missed when he dies. Whose personality, wisdom, sense of humor, generosity, kindness will be missed. I know that I am not that person yet. I believe, perhaps foolishly, that I will be someday, but I need time.”

Daniel Broderick, who married his first wife in a Catholic ceremony, said the Catholic leadership at the weekend session was “distracting the hell out of me.”

“As far as I’m concerned, the Catholic Church is an utter irrelevancy, a meaningless show perpetuated by a lot of simple-minded, unenlightened weaklings who can’t cope with life as it really is and who feel compelled to construct an elaborate network of fantasies to deal with realities that any strong, self-respecting person can handle rationally,” he wrote.

“I just have no respect for these people. Furthermore, they are basically uncool, unfashionable.”

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He closed one portion of the booklet by saying: “I do believe you deserve every bit as much love, consideration and sensitivity as all of these women get from their husbands combined. I’ll try.”


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