Broderick Had Split Personality, Jury Told : Testimony: Daughter says anger at the ex-husband she would later kill twisted Broderick’s behavior.
The oldest daughter of Elisabeth Anne (Betty) Broderick testified Tuesday that her mother was often a decent, loving parent, but that her anger against her ex-husband and his new wife deeply affected her four children.
“Sometimes, she was a great mother, and other times, she was a terrible mother,” Kim Broderick, 21, said in her third and final day of testimony.
In the second week of her mother’s second murder trial, Kim Broderick referred frequently to obscene or vulgar telephone calls made by Elisabeth Broderick to the home of her ex-husband, Daniel T. Broderick III.
Daniel Broderick, 44, and his wife, Linda Kolkena Broderick, 28, were found shot to death in the bedroom of their Marston Hills home Nov. 5, 1989. The prosecution describes the killings as premeditated, first-degree murders.
Elisabeth Broderick has admitted shooting the couple with a .38-caliber pistol, but the defense maintains that she went to the home intending only to kill herself. The defense contends that Elisabeth Broderick was driven to violence by the cunning of Daniel Broderick’s legal maneuvering during a bitter divorce proceeding.
Daniel Broderick, a past president of the San Diego County Bar Assn., was a prominent medical malpractice attorney who had both legal and medical degrees. He and his ex-wife were active in La Jolla social circles.
At one point, during intense cross-examination from defense attorney Jack Earley, Kim Broderick broke down and said, “Mom and I got along fine some of the time and fought some of the time. If I had known when I fought with Mom that this was going to happen, I would have been nice to Mom every minute of every day.”
Earley has said in interviews that Kim Broderick, a key prosecution witness in the first and second trials, seemed to be trying to “destroy” her mother and that she was always “a father’s girl.”
“I don’t know if she hates me,” a tearful Kim Broderick said of her mother. “I know I don’t hate her. I still have a normal relationship with Mom.”
Kim Broderick said her mother once damaged the walls of her father’s Marston Hills home with spray paint, smeared a mirror with lipstick and drove a Chevrolet Suburban truck through the front door.
Asked whether Daniel Broderick once threw his youngest son, Rhett, down a flight of stairs, Kim Broderick said, “Mom liked to hear those things. She didn’t like to hear anything nice about Dad or Linda. I don’t believe Dad did that. I just think Rhett told Mom that because she wanted to hear it.”
Tuesday afternoon, Linda David, who was hired by Daniel Broderick as a housekeeper in 1987, took the stand as a prosecution witness.
David testified that Elisabeth Broderick often expressed hatred for her ex-husband and occasionally threatened to kill him and his new wife.
She said that Elisabeth Broderick’s remorse over the breakup of the marriage was “never about being lonely for Dan as a partner or a companion. It was always a matter of her material loss.”
David testified that Elisabeth Broderick once instructed her son, Rhett, to “choke and spit out” the Thanksgiving dinner he would be having at his father’s house, because Linda Kolkena Broderick had prepared the meal.
David also testified that Elisabeth Broderick once urged her sons to run away from home during a time when their father had custody, and that she once entered the home in violation of a restraining order and tampered with Linda Broderick’s mail.
David testified that Elisabeth Broderick told her she had never been in love with her ex-husband, only with the privilege and status that being his wife had given her, and that, shortly before his death, she delivered a threat.
David remembered Elisabeth Broderick telling her: “I can’t take much more of this. I’m going to kill him. I’ll make his life a living hell, or . . . I’ll kill him.”