Public Reacts: Broderick Got What She Deserved : Opinion: In wake of the verdict, most people interviewed agreed with conviction. Some would have voted for first-degree murder.


In the initial hours following Tuesday's murder conviction of Elisabeth Anne (Betty) Broderick, people on the streets of San Diego seemed to hold little sympathy for her.

For two years, the case has riveted public attention, perhaps like none before in the city. For two years, the name Betty Broderick has triggered instant recognition on the part of most San Diegans. And for two years, most people have had an opinion.

When word spread Tuesday afternoon that Broderick had been convicted on two counts of second-degree murder for the 1989 bedroom killings of her ex-husband, Daniel Broderick, and his second wife, Linda, people from La Jolla to downtown San Diego talked.

"I think she got what she deserved. I never bought that she was unable to control her emotions. Lots of people get dumped, but they handle it without killing someone," said attorney Susan Cardine, interviewed downtown.

In the boutiques on Prospect Street in La Jolla, where Broderick used to shop, shoppers and workers alike applauded the verdict.

"I think she should have gotten the electric chair. You don't have the right to take anybody's life regardless of the cause. I was absolutely shocked when they came back with a hung jury in the first case," said C.D. Brewer, a Mission Hills resident.

Brewer's complaint that Broderick should receive the death penalty was echoed by others who argued she should have been convicted of first-degree murder on both counts, which would have made her eligible for the death penalty.

"I am angry that she didn't get first-degree murder," said Sam Gorgees, a downtown kiosk owner. "She had everything that a person could ask for, a big house and ($16,100 in alimony) every month. Yet, she was so jealous she couldn't let anyone else get her ex-husband. Her daughter even said that she did it."

Mike Hernandez, a downtown construction worker, said: "It should have been first-degree. . . . I hope she gets the maximum that she can possibly get."

It was a feeling echoed by Don King, a downtown hairdresser who said, "She got off light. It was premeditated, cold and calculating."

Others, though, said the jury's finding was reasonable and appropriate. They cited Daniel Broderick's alleged abusive behavior toward Betty Broderick, which was reported at the trials.

"I thought it was fair, the second-degree murder convictions . . . considering all the circumstances and because of the years of abuse," said Meg Schoeberl, a Del Mar resident who works at Czavra, a women's boutique in La Jolla.

Some women said they sympathized with Broderick's feeling of rejection after 16 years of marriage to Daniel Broderick, who left her for a younger woman. But this did not justify the two murders, they added.

"In some ways, I can understand how Betty felt. But a very objective look would be that she did pick up a gun and kill two people," said Cindi Lambert, a legal secretary. "I think I can understand . . . the rage she must have felt, and she tried to do something to expel her rage.

"On the other hand, she got a lot of money every month, and I think I would have been happy with that."

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