Spencer Busby wonders what it might have been like for Dan Broderick’s friend Linda Kolkata.
Broderick’s ex wife Betty Broderick shot and killed the 44-year-old successful attorney and his 28-year-old legal assistant in 1989.
The San Diego socialite snuck in to his home with their daughter’s key and a Smith & Wesson revolver. The couple were asleep when she opened fire on them. People magazine reported that Kolkena was hit in the chest and head with two bullets, instantly killing her. Broderick was pierced by one bullet. Broderick died shortly thereafter.
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The shocking murders were the focus of two TV movies, “A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story” and “Her Final Fury,” starring Meredith Baxter.
Three decades later, this infamous case was retold in the USA scripted series “Dirty John” starring Amanda Peet, and Christian Slater and aired its final episode Tuesday night.
On Wednesday night Oxygen will continue to examine the murders in their long-running true-crime series “Snapped.” Interviews with family members and former detective Terry Degelder, as well as Jack Farley, Betty’s lawyer, will be featured.
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Busby, who was very close to Broderick, Kolkena and others, also took part in the special.
Busby stated that Dan was ready to move forward with his life. He was clear that he wanted to begin a new chapter of his life by marrying Linda. He was torn. Betty was his wife for 16 years. His decision to continue his life was not impulsive. He was devoted to his family. He wanted to make his family’s lives better. Betty was not happy.
He said, “I can understand the emotions Betty felt after going through a divorce, having been in that long marriage and investing in that relationship.” You can’t condone this kind of behavior. It is not possible to enter someone’s house and expect them to speak to you with a gun.
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People reported that Broderick had met Betty Bisceglia at Mount Saint Vincent College in the 17-year-old year before the slayings. He was a Notre Dame senior in 1965. Broderick and Betty were married while Broderick was attending Cornell’s medical school. Broderick had both a Harvard law and a medical degree. Ten years later, he had his own law-malpractice firm.
Betty was unhappy that Broderick was focusing on his career and ignoring their children, even though he seemed to have achieved the American dream. In 1983, Betty accused Broderick of having an affair. He had just hired Kolkena as his legal assistant. Some people claimed Kolkena looked like Betty’s younger self over the years.
Betty surprised Broderick in his office on his birthday. She noticed remnants from a party. After Broderick had left with Kolkena, Betty went to her office and found that the receptionist had informed her. She then took her husband’s clothes home for a bonfire.
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Broderick would file for divorce in 1985. Their bitter divorce was a local legend for nearly five years. News reported. He married Kolkena in 1989.
Busby stated, “From my experience I would describe their love as one of love.” He was definitely captivated by her. She was charming, yes, but also very funny. She was a funny person with a wicked sense for humor. Dan was quiet and controlled. He was respected by the entire community.
He continued, “He would occasionally open up when we were drinking, but he was more private than that.” Linda was warm and funny. This is how I remember her. You could see a real connection if they were together. There have been many negative comments about them. But if you get to know them you will see that those comments are unfair.
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Busby stated that Betty was rarely mentioned by the couple and that they felt “embarrassed” because of the ongoing battle.
He said that Dan was trying to find a way to deal with Betty’s refusal to let go. He was a lawyer and trained to allow the legal system to handle it. It was hard work. The children would hear her curse words and angry messages. He was probably hoping she would also move on for the sake her children.”
Busby stated that he was shocked to hear the news about the couple’s death.
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He said, “I was shocked.” People always talk about Dan needing to be cautious, but I felt particularly sorry for Linda. She was young and had her entire life ahead of them. She was young and had a lot of life ahead of her. It’s a frightening thought to imagine someone so overwhelmed by rage.
Betty was 41 years old when she killed her husband and six-month-old wife. Betty denied that she was involved in the murder, but said she was driven to the edge by years of psychological and physical abuse from Broderick. This happened even after they divorced. People shared her conviction for second-degree murder. She was sentenced to 32 year imprisonment.
Betty, now 72 years old, is currently behind bars at California Institute for Women. Her parole application was denied in 2017. She will be 84 in 2032, so she is no longer eligible for parole.
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Betty wrote a four page, handwritten letter in 2017 to Katie Dunn, “Murder Made Me Famous”, where she vented frustration at her continued incarceration.
According to People, Betty said that “I have no one who can speak for me.” “This was domestic abuse. A pattern of coercive controls that lasted through my marriage up to the day they killed me… Now, I am only a politically imprisoned. They have no reason not to deny me parole.”
Busby stated that there are no losers in this tragic story. He hopes viewers will see that as the only thing they’ll learn from the new show.
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Oxygen’s “Snapped” documentary focuses on the murders of Linda Kolkena and Dan Broderick. (Photo courtesy Oxygen
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Busby said, “You know what? Nobody’s perfect.” They deserved their chance at a happy life together. It ended in tragedy. Betty could have made a new start and found happiness after her divorce. Here she lost control. The children are the ones who suffered the most. They lost both their parents. It’s so heartbreaking. There could have been much more. “There are no losers here.”