SAN DIEGO — Recorded on videotape for all of San Diego to see, there was La Jolla socialite Elisabeth Anne (Betty) Broderick in green underwear and a gray jail sweat shirt, perched on an upper bunk in her jail cell. No, she said to inquiring deputies, she was not about to move.
So here came a swarm of guards, scrambling into the cell and onto the bed, determined to move Betty Broderick to another cell whether she liked it or not. She didn't, and a wrestling match ensued. The guards grabbed for her limbs. She kicked at them.
Viewers of San Diego's local news shows were treated last week to this snippet of tape. Broderick's second trial on charges of killing her ex-husband and his new wife had not yet begun, but there she was in her underwear, still making news.
"This case, by its very nature, has generated a mountain of publicity," San Diego Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Whelan said at a hearing last week, ticking off the extended coverage it has drawn in television, magazine and newspaper reports. And the mountain is about to get higher.
Ten months after a first trial that ended in a hung jury, Betty Broderick is going on trial for a second time. Jury selection, which marked the formal kickoff of the case, officially began Friday and is expected to drag on for three or four weeks. The presentation of evidence is not likely to begin until mid-October.
Betty Broderick, 43, is charged with two counts of murder in the Nov. 5, 1989, shooting deaths of her ex-husband, Daniel T. Broderick III, 44, and his new wife, Linda Kolkena Broderick, 28.
Daniel Broderick was a prominent medical malpractice attorney and a former president of the San Diego County Bar Assn. Linda Kolkena Broderick was his office assistant.
Daniel and Betty Broderick separated in 1985, after 16 years of marriage. During their divorce, which did not become final until 1989, Betty Broderick accused her husband of using his legal influence to cheat her out of her fair share of his seven-figure annual income.
At Betty Broderick's first trial, 10 jurors voted to convict her of murder. Two pressed for manslaughter.
She admitted in the first trial that she fired the fatal shots. The key issue in the case, then and now, remains simple: Did Betty Broderick have the premeditation the law requires for first-degree murder?
The case has been the focus of extraordinary public fascination, as if the bitter Broderick divorce were a template against which people could measure their own marriages.
Aside from countless newspaper stories in the San Diego and national press, the case has been featured in several magazines. Books and television and movie scripts are in the works.
Betty Broderick has held court at the Las Colinas Jail in Santee since she surrendered to authorities the day of the killings. The Sept. 1 scuffle with jail guards came about as she readied for yet another interview, with the ABC-TV news show "20/20."
The fight, which left three jail guards with slight injuries, set off a chain reaction of events.
First, it was disclosed that prosecutors are weighing whether to file felony charges of resisting an officer against Betty Broderick.
Four days later, one of the guards, Michelle St. Clair, 25, who suffered a strained shoulder, announced she would file suit in San Diego Superior Court against Betty Broderick, seeking damages for her injuries. Then St. Clair's lawyer, James J. Cunningham, released an edited version of the tape to the TV stations, who rushed it onto the late-night news shows.
Meanwhile, Betty Broderick says the incident was overblown. "This is a good sub-story, but not at all what it seems now," she said in a note last week to a reporter. "Let's get to the \o7 truth\f7 of what happened."
At the second trial, as at the first, much of that will depend on Betty Broderick. She will take the stand again in her own defense, said defense lawyer Jack Earley.
Testifying tearfully at the first trial, Betty Broderick portrayed herself as a wife and mother scorned by a husband who jilted her after 16 years of marriage for a younger woman.
She said Daniel Broderick undertook a legal campaign during which he secured custody of their children and manipulated their finances, she said.
She also said that during the marriage he called her names--"old, fat, ugly, boring and stupid"--and suggested she was crazy for thinking he was cheating on her. Months later, he admitted she was right to suspect him but still maintained she was mentally ill, she said.
Walter Polk, 60, a retired Air Force engineer, one of the two jurors who voted for manslaughter, told a writer for the magazine Mirabella that his only question about the killings was: "What took her so long?" Polk could not be reached for comment by The Times.
Unlike the first trial, it's likely that Betty Broderick will be questioned in detail about the shootings. The first time around, Deputy Dist. Atty. Kerry Wells, the prosecutor in the case, did not ask Betty Broderick directly about them.