Driven To The Edge Or Just A Cold Blooded Killer? | The Betty Broderick Story: Part One

(Betty Broderick. Picture credit:

This is one of those cases from the late 1980s that still leaves people shocked and divided on opinion to this day. I've known about this case for years and it was on my list to cover and it just so happens that Netflix have done a series on Betty's case in season two of the Dirty John series. I was in two minds whether to carry on covering this case but I thought it would be interesting to delve into some of the details that the Netflix series might not cover.

She's often called ''The Woman Scorned'' but years before that title, Elizabeth Anne Bisceglia (otherwise known as Betty Broderick) was a beautiful young woman back in the 1960s, she was a model with long beautiful blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. She was born in Eastchester, New York and came from a respectable family. It was not surprising with Betty's good looks that she caught the eye of many a young man but there was one guy in particular who sweeped Betty off of her feet and he was called Dan Broderick. They met at a party in 1965 and Dan gave her his phone number on a napkin alongside a note which said his name and ''MDA'', Betty asked him what ''MDA'' stood for and he replied ''Medical Doctor Almost''.

Dan, who was a medical student, told friends that as soon as he saw Betty he knew he was going to marry her. It wasn't long before the two young lovers became engaged and they married in 1969. All seemed to be romantic and bliss at first for the couple and Betty returned from their amazing honeymoon (they had a Caribbean cruise and later stayed in St. Thomas) pregnant with their first child, who the couple named, Kimberly.

(Betty and Dan on their wedding day. Picture credit:

Betty was a workaholic and continued to work through her pregnancies, the couple had 5 children, they also had a sixth child, a little baby boy who sadly passed away two days after birth. It was around the early years of the marriage that Dan decided he wanted to study law and to support his dream, Betty did everything she could. Betty held down a number of jobs whilst looking after the children, it was no easy task but she managed to work, look after the kids and keep the house going whilst Dan continued to study and often spent a lot of time away from home going to bars with fellow students. He said that this was his way of making connections to help his career.

Betty sacrificed a lot during these years, her youth was passing by but she had always wanted to be a mother and have a big family and didn't regret having the children. Her thought was that all the support and sacrifice to help Dan's career would mean that by the time she got to her 40s, they would be able to relax and enjoy the money and the fruits of all that labour.

Cracks began to appear in the marriage, people who knew the couple would later say that they had a lot of arguments and Betty would always threaten to divorce Dan. Betty often felt that all her hard work wasn't being appreciated. As the 1980s were fast approaching, Dan's career as a lawyer really took off and the couple, together with their 5 children started to live quite a lavish lifestyle. Betty and Dan would often go to parties and were always dressed in the finest clothes but despite the success, the couple were barely making it through the day as a couple. Behind the scenes, the arguments were off the scale, they would throw objects at each other and Betty would continue with the threats of divorce.

It was as if Betty felt that she could always threaten divorce because of her history with Dan and having to carry him through his studying, almost being like a mother figure to him as well as the children. She felt that he owed her for all the years she sacrificed and she felt that she made him and that he would have gotten nowhere if it hadn't been for her support and keeping the house and children together.

Dan became very successful and with that came more money, he was reported to have been a really nice, down to earth guy but when the money came rolling in, there were some changes. Gone were the glasses and the geeky persona and in came a makeover. He had a nose job and started wearing designer suits. He also bought a flash car and hired a 22 year old attractive assistant by the name of Linda Kolkena.

When Dan hired Linda, a few eyebrows were raised because she was a former airline hostess and had basic skills as a receptionist. Apparently she couldn't type very well and was just learning the basics when Dan decided to promote her to be his assistant. There was a lot of hostility because Linda was being paid more money and wasn't really doing anything to justify that. He basically hired her to be his assistant because he was either attracted to her or they were already getting closer at that point. It didn't go down well with the other members of staff and Linda would often be the talk of the staff room, people would make comments about her being a loose woman and not having very good personal hygiene. Whether this is true or not, it's hard to say, it could just have been envy and bitchiness from the other members of staff but it's is known that some people were not happy with the special treatment that Linda was getting.

(Linda and Dan. Picture credit:

Being the intelligent woman that Betty was at that time, she had a feeling that something was going on with Dan and Linda. Dan would try to convince her that she was being silly and paranoid and told her time and time again that nothing was going on between him and Linda.

Betty began to feel that she was going crazy because Dan was spending a lot of time away from home, there was late night phonecalls and it all came to a head when it was Dan's birthday and Betty decided to go to his office and surprise him. When she got there she was told that Dan and Linda had gone to lunch to celebrate his birthday. When Betty walked into his office, she saw balloons, half eaten birthday cake and two glasses of wine. It all looked so cosy and Betty was hurt and furious.

When he finally came home that night, Betty was waiting for him, he denied that he had been with Linda and denied that they were having an affair, he accused Betty of being paranoid and crazy again and the argument got to the point where Betty set fire to his clothes.

Despite this incident they carried on with the marriage but Betty later said that she woke up one night and tried to kill herself because she was so convinced that Dan and Linda were seeing each other. Dan found her in time and swore that nothing was going on. Betty told that story later on at her trial and people thought she was lying to try and get some sympathy but she approached the jury and displayed her scars on her wrists to them which seemed to confirm the truth, others may say they could have been scars from something else but in my opinion, going by the desperate state that she was in, she felt that she was losing control, that she was going crazy and she didn't want to lose her husband.

The marriage was getting worse and worse as the days went on and Dan told Betty that he was moving out of the house.

Continued in part two...

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Check out some of the true crime cases I have covered previously:

The Babes In The Wood (Epping Forest, 1970) | Ronald Jebson

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The Story of Ed Gein (3 Part Series)

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Beyond Evil: The Murder of Jessica Lunsford 

Death Row Scot: The Kenny Richey Story: Part One

Death Row Scot: The Kenny Richey Story: Part Two

Death Row Scot: The kenny Richey Story: Part Three

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Nowhere To Run: The Marilyn McKenna Story | Part One

 Unsolved : Part Three: The Highway Of Tears & The Disappearance Of Maddy Scott 

Unsolved: Part Two | What Happened To Melanie Melanson? 

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The Dark Side of The Internet: The Amanda Todd Story 

The Story of Bible John


  1. Wow what a part one. Why did she not Leave him at the time when she had the first chance when the late night out and the phone calls in the night started. And why did she not go and seek help from friends and family if she was depressed. I think he was having An Affair with Linda why would he get so defensive about it and why would he go out for lunch on his birthday with her and get home and say that he did not go out for lunch with her when the rest of the office saying that he did. I will be Reading part two soon and I can't wait to read it. Fantastic part one now for part two. 💓💓💓💓💓💓