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Daughter Testifies in Mother's Behalf at Broderick Trial

November 07, 1990|ALAN ABRAHAMSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Testifying again, this time in her mother's defense, Elisabeth Anne (Betty) Broderick's daughter said Tuesday that her father had a temper to be feared, wrote her out of his will and called her mother derogatory names.

Lee Broderick, who had testified two weeks ago for the prosecution at her mother's double-murder trial, said Tuesday that, as her mother contends, her father called Betty Broderick "crazy, sick and disgusting."

Her father, attorney Daniel T. Broderick III, and his new wife, Linda Kolkena Broderick, also had other names for Betty Broderick, Lee Broderick said. They would say about her mother, a La Jolla socialite, that she was "fat, disgusting, beastly, the Beast, the Monster, on the rampage, on the warpath," Lee Broderick said.

And, though Betty Broderick desperately wanted to see her ex-husband, to discuss their bitter divorce, he refused to talk to her, Lee Broderick said.

"He didn't want to talk to her, he didn't want to see her, he didn't want to hear her voice," she said.

Lee Broderick was the last of 19 witnesses put on Tuesday by Betty Broderick's defense, a parade that included two San Diego judges, a Bible study leader, a plastic surgeon, a grocery clerk, a maid, a gynecologist, a San Diego police officer, teachers, Betty Broderick's boyfriend and Lee Broderick's boyfriend.

Most of the 19 witnesses called by defense lawyer Jack Earley repeated the same themes--that the divorce file in Daniel and Betty Broderick's divorce case disappeared, that Daniel Broderick could be violent, that Betty Broderick was a caring mother, that the divorce depressed her, and that she was in an unsettled mental state when she shot and killed him and his new wife on Nov. 5, 1989.

Betty Broderick, who turns 43 today, is charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of her ex-husband and his wife. If convicted, she could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Daniel Broderick, 44, was a prominent medical malpractice attorney and a former president of the San Diego County Bar Assn. Linda Kolkena Broderick, 28, was his office assistant.

Betty Broderick has pleaded innocent and has been held without bail at the Las Colinas Jail in Santee since she surrendered the day of the killings.

Daniel and Betty Broderick separated in 1985, after 16 years of marriage. During their divorce, which was not final until 1989, she accused her husband of using his legal influence to cheat her out of her fair share of his seven-figure annual income.

Anthony C. Joseph and William J. Howatt Jr., two San Diego Superior Court judges who handled parts of the Broderick divorce, both testified Tuesday that the file in the case disappeared before a late 1988 trial. Betty Broderick has contended that she never got a fair shake in the divorce because she was unable to read the file.

The file resurfaced after the trial, the judges said. Joseph and Howatt said they had no idea what had happened to it.

Lee Broderick, 19, Daniel and Betty Broderick's second child, said Tuesday that her father had his moods.

She said Daniel Broderick would "break things that would frustrate him," like the lawn mower, or kick the family's two dogs, because "he hated dogs." She said, "Nobody would want to disobey him or make him mad when he was home from work."

Last week, Betty Broderick testified that Daniel Broderick hit her during their marriage and once gave her a black eye, though she could not remember when or where they where when he allegedly hit her in the eye. Two friends of hers--Evangeline Burt and Phyllis Jardel--both said Tuesday that they saw her with a black eye.

"She didn't really accuse Dan," Jardel said.

Lee Broderick said she never saw her father give her mother a black eye or beat her. Primarily, she said, he tried to avoid his ex-wife.

Daniel Broderick did not let Lee Broderick have a key to his house, she said, because she split time between his house and her mother's house, and he did not want Betty Broderick to obtain the key. Arriving at her father's house, "I'd knock on the door, and, if nobody was home, I'd have to go somewhere else," Lee Broderick said.

She said she had school and drug troubles, and they had made her father so mad that he had "disowned me," cut her out of his will. But she also said that he told her older sister, Kim, 20, that he intended to put her back in "once things were straightened out," though that never occurred.

Lee Broderick said her father and his second wife would tell her two brothers--the two youngest of Daniel and Betty Broderick's four children, who lived with their father--to ask their mother "if she was crazy, and if she was, why didn't she go to the doctor?"

"If she did go to see a doctor, they'd be able to see her more often," the boys would tell their mother, according to Lee Broderick.

The two boys, who were "happy" around their mother, were "frightened and silent" around Daniel Broderick, said the family maid, Maria Montes, who stayed with Betty Broderick after she and her husband separated.

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