The final episode of the second season of Dirty John aired on USA last night and wrapped up the disturbing, gripping saga of how Betty Broderick—a well-off housewife and socialite who appeared to live a perfect suburban life—ended up murdering her ex-husband and his new wife in 1989. Amidst all the details about the Brodericks' messy divorce case and Betty's gradual descent into instability and violence, the show doesn't lose sight of the impact this turmoil had on the couple's four children.
It's fair to say the kids went through a lot—at one point in 1985, after Daniel Broderick left her, Betty began dropping the children off on his doorstep, “one by one,” because she wanted Dan to know the struggles of parenting. Dan was ultimately awarded sole custody of the children, and an enraged Betty believed he used his legal influence against her.
Following their father's murder, the Broderick kids were divided on wha constituted proper punishment for their mother's crime. Here's a primer on where they are today.
Kim Broderick testified for the prosecution at her mother's trial.
Kim, the Brodericks' eldest child, took the stand at Betty's second criminal trial in 1991. (She also testified in 1990 at the first, which ended in a mistrial. You can watch footage from that above.) Under cross-examination, Kim testified that Betty told her she intended to commit suicide on the day she killed Dan and his new wife, Linda Kolkena. Her original plan, Kim testified, was to kill the couple and then herself, but she ran out of bullets. Asked how she felt about her mother, Kim replied: “Well, I love her, but I am mad at her." You can watch footage of her 1991 testimony at CourtTV.
Under cross-examination, Kim also gave testimony about other aspects of Betty and Dan's marriage. The Los Angeles Times noted that "unlike last year, Kim Broderick has remained calm and comparatively unemotional throughout the second trial."
Kathy Lee Broderick testified for the defense.
While her sister Kim testified against Betty, Kathy Lee (who goes by the name "Lee") testified for the defense. She described a frantic phone call she received from her mother on the morning of the murders, and recounted how Betty drove to her apartment soon after killing Dan and Linda, per Oxygen. (You can also watch Lee's testimony at CourtTV.) Betty asked Lee to check on her little brothers at her house, where Lee encountered the police. Betty was arrested later that day.
Lee was the only one of the four children who was not in Dan's will. According to The Los Angeles Times, he cut her out of the will after she left his house to stay with her mother.
Lee has continued to advocate for her mom, and in 2017 testified at her parole hearing. Per the Chicago Tribune, Lee said Betty “should be able to live her later life outside prison walls,” while her brother Daniel disagreed, arguing that Betty was still "hung up on justifying what she did” and shouldn't be released. Betty was ultimately denied parole, with deputy district attorney Richard Sachs calling her "an unrepentant woman."
Danny Broderick's agonizing phone call with his mother was used as evidence during divorce proceedings.
As depicted in one especially disturbing Dirty John sequence, the couple's young son Danny Broderick once partook in a painful 34-minute phone conversation with Betty, during which he begged her to stop being so greedy in her legal proceedings with Dan, and to stop using so many "bad words." (This relates to Betty's pattern of leaving obscene voicemail messages for Dan and Linda.)
During Betty's trial, Kim was asked where Daniel Broderick was during this conversation, which took place at his house. Per The L.A. Times, she testified that he was in a separate room, and was aware of the conversation—even recording it to use later in court during his divorce proceedings with Betty—but didn't want to interfere in the moment.
The children have visited Betty in prison many times.
Betty told the San Diego Reader in 1998 that she asked her children not to visit her on traditional holidays like Christmas and school holidays, because she "didn't want for all their memories of those times to be of visiting Mom in prison." She asked them to visit on her birthday and Mother's Day instead. “My kids—being my kids—always showed up with something like $800 worth of groceries,” she told the paper, adding that the children bring her favorite foods to their visits.
Rhett appeared on Oprah to discuss how his father's death impacted his life.
Rhett, the youngest Broderick child, made an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1992 and opened up about how the loss of his father at the hands of his mother affected him. He admitted during the interview that he "wasn't really surprised" when he learned Betty had shot Dan and Linda. "On multiple occasions, [my brother and I] went to my dad and said to him that we wanted to live with my mom, and that not having her kids was driving her crazy—and that she could do something extremely irrational if she didn’t have us.”
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