Daughter Testifies in Mother’s Behalf at Broderick Trial
Testifying again, this time in her mother’s defense, Elisabeth Anne (Betty) Broderick’s daughter said Tuesday that her father had a temper to be feared, wrote her out of his will and called her mother derogatory names.
Lee Broderick, who had testified two weeks ago for the prosecution at her mother’s double-murder trial, said Tuesday that, as her mother contends, her father called Betty Broderick “crazy, sick and disgusting.”
Her father, attorney Daniel T. Broderick III, and his new wife, Linda Kolkena Broderick, also had other names for Betty Broderick, Lee Broderick said. They would say about her mother, a La Jolla socialite, that she was “fat, disgusting, beastly, the Beast, the Monster, on the rampage, on the warpath,” Lee Broderick said.
And, though Betty Broderick desperately wanted to see her ex-husband, to discuss their bitter divorce, he refused to talk to her, Lee Broderick said.
“He didn’t want to talk to her, he didn’t want to see her, he didn’t want to hear her voice,” she said.
Lee Broderick was the last of 19 witnesses put on Tuesday by Betty Broderick’s defense, a parade that included two San Diego judges, a Bible study leader, a plastic surgeon, a grocery clerk, a maid, a gynecologist, a San Diego police officer, teachers, Betty Broderick’s boyfriend and Lee Broderick’s boyfriend.
Most of the 19 witnesses called by defense lawyer Jack Earley repeated the same themes--that the divorce file in Daniel and Betty Broderick’s divorce case disappeared, that Daniel Broderick could be violent, that Betty Broderick was a caring mother, that the divorce depressed her, and that she was in an unsettled mental state when she shot and killed him and his new wife on Nov. 5, 1989.
Betty Broderick, who turns 43 today, 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 Kolkena Broderick, 28, was his office assistant.
Betty Broderick has pleaded innocent and has been held without bail at the Las Colinas Jail in Santee since she surrendered the day of the killings.
Daniel and Betty Broderick separated in 1985, after 16 years of marriage. During their divorce, which was not final until 1989, she accused her husband of using his legal influence to cheat her out of her fair share of his seven-figure annual income.
Anthony C. Joseph and William J. Howatt Jr., two San Diego Superior Court judges who handled parts of the Broderick divorce, both testified Tuesday that the file in the case disappeared before a late 1988 trial. Betty Broderick has contended that she never got a fair shake in the divorce because she was unable to read the file.
The file resurfaced after the trial, the judges said. Joseph and Howatt said they had no idea what had happened to it.
Lee Broderick, 19, Daniel and Betty Broderick’s second child, said Tuesday that her father had his moods.
She said Daniel Broderick would “break things that would frustrate him,” like the lawn mower, or kick the family’s two dogs, because “he hated dogs.” She said, “Nobody would want to disobey him or make him mad when he was home from work.”
Last week, Betty Broderick testified that Daniel Broderick hit her during their marriage and once gave her a black eye, though she could not remember when or where they where when he allegedly hit her in the eye. Two friends of hers--Evangeline Burt and Phyllis Jardel--both said Tuesday that they saw her with a black eye.
“She didn’t really accuse Dan,” Jardel said.
Lee Broderick said she never saw her father give her mother a black eye or beat her. Primarily, she said, he tried to avoid his ex-wife.
Daniel Broderick did not let Lee Broderick have a key to his house, she said, because she split time between his house and her mother’s house, and he did not want Betty Broderick to obtain the key. Arriving at her father’s house, “I’d knock on the door, and, if nobody was home, I’d have to go somewhere else,” Lee Broderick said.
She said she had school and drug troubles, and they had made her father so mad that he had “disowned me,” cut her out of his will. But she also said that he told her older sister, Kim, 20, that he intended to put her back in “once things were straightened out,” though that never occurred.
Lee Broderick said her father and his second wife would tell her two brothers--the two youngest of Daniel and Betty Broderick’s four children, who lived with their father--to ask their mother “if she was crazy, and if she was, why didn’t she go to the doctor?”
“If she did go to see a doctor, they’d be able to see her more often,” the boys would tell their mother, according to Lee Broderick.
The two boys, who were “happy” around their mother, were “frightened and silent” around Daniel Broderick, said the family maid, Maria Montes, who stayed with Betty Broderick after she and her husband separated.
“He was crazy,” she said. The boys “couldn’t jump or play. He would just scream and say, ‘Sit down,’ and they would have to sit down.”
After spending weekends with Betty Broderick, the boys resisted the return to their father, Montes said.
“Several times,” she said, the boys “hid in the bushes in the back yard so they wouldn’t have to go to the father.”
Except when the boys were around, Betty Broderick “was always crying,” Montes said through a Spanish language interpreter. “Always sad. The only time she was happy was when the children were present.”
Friends of Betty Broderick’s said the same thing. She was a “mother that beamed around her children,” said Candace McCarty, the Bible study leader whose study group Betty Broderick sometimes attended beginning in 1984, the year after she suspected her husband had begun an affair with Kolkena.
Before Betty and Daniel Broderick’s marital troubles began, Betty Broderick was “outrageously funny,” said Judith Backhaus, a longtime friend.
But, as the troubles mounted, said Candace Westbrook, there were “drastic changes” in Betty Broderick. No longer was she an “up, happy, positive person.”
Last week, Betty Broderick testified she was so depressed by marital woes that she tried to kill herself in November, 1983, by slitting her wrists with a razor. Dr. Ross Rudolph, a La Jolla plastic surgeon, said Tuesday that she did have two scars on her left wrist, each about half an inch long.
She recovered from the suicide attempt. But Bradley Wright, whom Betty Broderick began dating after separating from Daniel Broderick, said Tuesday that she still was frequently “upset and depressed.”
She “liked to be alone by herself, not with the family and friends,” he said.
Betty Broderick was decidedly upset immediately after shooting her ex-husband and his new wife, said Lee Broderick’s boyfriend, Jason Prantil. Just after the shootings, Betty Broderick went to the apartment where Prantil and Lee Broderick lived, he said.
Betty Broderick “was talking very fast, and she wasn’t making a lot of sense,” Prantil said. “She was very incoherent.”
“Among her ramblings, she said she wanted to confront him about resolving the situation,” he said.
“She looked like she had been up for a couple days,” he said. “She looked like she was sick. Like she was panic-stricken.”
Testimony in the case is scheduled to resume today, with defense lawyer Earley putting on more witnesses. He said his case will conclude later this week.