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'I Hate Daddy,' Broderick Tells Son in Tape Played at Murder Trial

October 24, 1990|ALAN ABRAHAMSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Over and over, one of Elisabeth Anne (Betty) Broderick's young sons pleaded with her to stop being so mad at her ex-husband and his new wife, told her all she cared about was money and urged her to never again use "bad words."

But, in a wrenching tape played Tuesday at Broderick's double-murder trial, she told her son that, even though she had been angry for years at Daniel T. Broderick III and his new wife, Linda Kolkena Broderick, she was not about to change "because I hate Daddy."

That hate resulted in frequent angry or vulgar messages on Daniel Broderick's answering machine and repeated threats to kill him and his new wife before Betty Broderick shot them both last November and said she did it to bring the family together, one of her daughters testified Tuesday.

Testifying against her mother, Kim Broderick cried often. Betty Broderick--who frequently called Kim a "traitor" after asking for her daughter's loyalty before and after the killings--cried, too.

Broderick, 42, a former La Jolla socialite, faces two counts of murder in the shooting deaths before dawn last Nov. 5 of her ex-husband and his new wife.

Daniel Broderick was a prominent medical malpractice lawyer and a former county bar president.

His divorce from Betty Broderick, which started when the couple separated in 1985 and took four years, was bitter. During and after the divorce proceedings, Betty Broderick accused her husband of using his legal influence to cheat her out of her fair share of his million-dollar-a-year income.

Betty Broderick, who has pleaded innocent, has been held without bail in the Las Colinas Jail in Santee since last November. If convicted, she could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Broderick's defense attorney, Jack Earley, admitted Monday when the trial began that Betty Broderick shot and killed her ex-husband and his new wife. He contends, however, that she is not guilty of murder because she had no intent to kill anyone but herself.

Kim Broderick, 20, testified Tuesday that her mother called shortly after the shootings and said that Daniel Broderick said upon being hit, "OK, you shot me. I'm dead."

That comment was exactly the same as one made by Betty Broderick's other daughter, Lee, 19, last March at her mother's preliminary hearing.

Kim Broderick also said, as she did when she testified last March, that she lost her keys, including a key to her father's house, a couple of weeks before the killings. Prosecutors contend Betty Broderick used that key to sneak into Daniel Broderick's Marston Hills home Nov. 5.

"My dad's key was a big deal," Kim Broderick said. "We were supposed to guard it with our lives."

But Kim Broderick added new details Tuesday, verifying the details of the 34-minute tape--made by her father on his answering machine--of a phone call in March, 1987, between Danny and his mother. The tape was part of the Brodericks' divorce case file, which has been sealed.

In the call, Danny, who was then 11 and is not expected to testify in the murder case, said that the animosity between his mother and father would never cease until his mother stopped using "bad words."

Dozens of times, he asked her to refrain from using angry and vulgar language, including the two names by which she consistently referred to her ex-husband and new wife. On the tape, Betty Broderick swears repeatedly.

At another point, Danny said, "All you care about is your stupid money."

He said, "You want everything. You want all the kids, all the money, to get rid of Linda--and it's not going to work, Mom."

And he said, "You've been mad long enough."

She replied, "No, I haven't."

Deputy Dist. Atty. Kerry Wells played, in a row, 30 calls Betty Broderick made--from May, 1986, to December, 1988--to her ex-husband's answering machine.

In one, Betty 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."

She called her husband the name she usually used, then 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)"--using the word she consistently used to refer to Linda Kolkena Broderick--"and I see you doing all your wonderful things and, um, you're gonna be real sorry."

Kim Broderick testified Tuesday that, in early 1989, shortly before Daniel Broderick married Linda Kolkena, Betty Broderick told her, " 'I'm going to kill them. I'm going to shoot them.' She said she would shoot them in the head four times, three times."

Kim Broderick also said her mother knew that Daniel Broderick 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 was to go to each of the four Broderick children--Kim, Lee, Danny, now 14, and Rhett, 11.

Betty Broderick never talked directly about killing him for the policy, her daughter said. "She never said, 'Then we'd get the insurance policy,' " Kim Broderick said. "But she said, 'We'd have money, we'd be rich.' She said that a lot."

In other testimony Tuesday, a coroner testified about the gunshot wounds Daniel and Linda Broderick suffered, and jurors were shown color photos of the corpses. Linda Broderick died instantly from a shot to the head while Daniel Broderick took longer to die, probably a couple of minutes, from a shot that punctured his lung, Dr. Christopher Swalwell said.

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