The oldest daughter of Elisabeth Anne (Betty) Broderick testified Thursday that her mother had shown violent tendencies for years and had talked often of killing her ex-husband, Daniel T. Broderick III, and his new wife, Linda Kolkena Broderick.
As Broderick’s second murder trial entered its second day of testimony, jurors also listened to an emotional tape, in which Danny Broderick, then 11 years old, told his mother that all she cared about was money and begged her to never again use “bad words.”
For 34 minutes, the couple’s oldest son pleaded with Elisabeth Broderick to stop tearing the family apart with jealous rage and vulgar invective.
At one point, the boy said, “All you care about is your stupid money. You want everything. You want all the kids, all the money, to get rid of Linda--and it’s not going to work, Mom. You’ve been mad long enough.”
She replied, “No, I haven’t.”
Jurors grimaced or sat with their heads bowed. And still, the tape played on, revealing the contents of a 1987 phone call made by Elisabeth Broderick to the Marston Hills estate where Daniel and Linda Broderick were shot to death Nov. 5, 1989.
The tape was heard last year at Broderick’s first trial and packed the same punch Thursday.
As it played, Elisabeth Broderick sat with her head down, crying softly, while just a few feet away, foam models with wooden dowels stuck through their chests illustrated entry and exit wounds on the victims’ bodies.
Broderick explained to her son--who cried throughout the 34 minutes--that she had felt bitter for years at his father and stepmother, and she could never change, “because I hate Daddy.”
The hate manifested itself in angry messages left repeatedly on the answering machine in the home where the killings occurred around dawn on a Sunday.
“If you cared about your family, you’d stop using bad words,” Danny cried.
“I’m sick of the (expletive),” his mother said, using the one word used repeatedly to describe Linda Kolkena Broderick.
In reference to Daniel Broderick, Elisabeth Broderick said to her son, “He’s absolute scum. He’s cheated and lied and . . . around. You have no reason to be mad at me. I didn’t cause any of this. Daddy and the (expletive referring to Linda Broderick) caused all of this.”
Moments later, Danny said, “We want to live with you, Mom, but you’re making it harder for all of us. You probably don’t care, because all you want is your money.”
Near the end of the conversation, Broderick said to her son, “I wish (Daniel Broderick) would just die” and that Linda Kolkena Broderick would “get drunk and drive her car off a cliff.”
Kim Broderick, 21, the oldest child of Daniel and Elisabeth Broderick, testified tearfully Thursday that she never saw her father try to physically harm her mother.
But, Kim said, she once saw her mother dig her fingernails into her father’s back. Just as she did last year, Kim Broderick said that her mother spoke often of the rage she felt for her ex-husband and his new wife, and vowed someday to kill them.
“She said, ‘I’m going to kill the son of a bitch,’ ” Kim Broderick said. “She said, ‘I’m going to shoot him in the head.’ She said the world would be a better place and that everyone would thank her.”
Kim Broderick said that she often told her mother, “Sure, Mom, and spend the rest of your life in jail,” to which she replied, “No. No one will believe what happened to me.”
Just as last year, when a mistrial was declared after a jury was unable to arrive at a unanimous verdict, Kim Broderick testified about her keys disappearing--one of which prosecutors say Elisabeth Broderick used in illegally entering her ex-husband’s home on the day of the killings.
She talked of her mother appearing to feel no remorse for the slayings, and, despite protests, how she used one obscene word over and over in describing Daniel, and obscene word for Linda Broderick.
But, unlike last year, Kim Broderick did not appear uncontrollably angry at her mother, and on numerous occasions--in particular, during cross-examination by defense attorney Jack Earley--she failed to remember details that came quickly during last year’s trial.
Kim Broderick testified that her mother knew Daniel Broderick had bought a $2-million insurance policy about a month before the killings. If he died, $1 million was to go to his new wife and $250,000 to each of the four Broderick children--Kim, Lee, Danny and Rhett.
The Brodericks’ bitter divorce and custody dispute started when the couple separated in 1985 and continued for four years, during which time Daniel Broderick began a love affair with his legal assistant, Linda Kolkena.
In reference to the insurance policy, Kim Broderick said she remembered her mother saying, “We’ll all be rich and have a wonderful life.”
Part of Thursday was taken up with Deputy Dist. Atty. Kerry Wells playing, in a row, 30 calls Elisabeth Broderick made--from May, 1986, to December, 1988--to her ex-husband’s answering machine.
In one, Elisabeth Broderick said: “I just want what’s mine. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. I don’t give two (expletive) about you. You’re not worth spit.”
Another time, she said: “You’ve turned my life into a nightmare. I can’t go to sleep. I close my eyes, and I see you and the (expletive) and I see you doing all your wonderful things and, um, you’re gonna be real sorry.”
Later, she called the prominent medical malpractice attorney and former president of the San Diego County Bar Assn. “a slug with a fancy tie on. You’re too low to kick and too wet to step on.”
Kim Broderick testified that her mother often entered Daniel Broderick’s home and “stole things,” and that she knew her mother had purchased a .38-caliber revolver shortly before the killings and around the time that her keys disappeared.
Kim Broderick and her mother acknowledged each other only once during the day. Prosecutor Wells asked whether Kim and her sister had permission to look inside her mother’s purse.
Kim looked briefly at her mother and smiled. Elisabeth Broderick smiled back.
“I don’t know if she always wanted us to go into her purse,” she said, “but we did.”
But, after her mother was arrested and in jail, Kim Broderick said she tried to find out why her mother had shot her father and stepmother.
She said her mother told her: “My choice was to kill them or kill myself. And I couldn’t let him win.”