A new docuseries reveals fresh details in the bloody murder of Dan Broderick and his wife Linda Kolkena, who were shot dead by his vengeful ex-wife Betty Broderick.
Successful attorney Dan Broderick and Linda had been married for just six months when they were fatally shot on November 1989 in their San Diego, California home.
The notorious case has been retold in podcasts, two films, and the USA TV series Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story starring Amanda Peet and Christian Slater.
Now new details of the shocking killings will be aired on Oxygen’s docu-series Snapped: Betty Broderick that will premiere on Wednesday night at 8pm, shedding light on how friends feared Betty’s wrath as Dan moved into a new marriage.
‘I was shocked. People always talked about how Dan needed to be careful, but I felt especially sad for Linda,’ Spencer Busby, an attorney and friend close to Dan and Linda who participated in Oxygen’s special, said to Fox News.
Successful attorney Dan Broderick (left) and his new wife Linda Kolkena (right) were fatally shot on in November 1989 by his ex-wife Betty Broderick
Betty and Dan Broderick (pictured together above) were married in 1969 but they divorced in 1985 after Dan flung himself into pursuing his career running a medical-malpractice law firm
On the evening of November 5, 1989 Betty, armed with a Smith & Wesson revolver, snuck into Dan’s San Diego, California home using their daughter’s key and fatally shot her ex-husband Dan and his wife of just six-months Linda Kolkena
‘She was very young and had her whole life ahead of her. But she got in the middle of a crossfire that she couldn’t avoid. You don’t ever want to think someone could be so overwhelmed with rage,’ he added.
Dan married Betty in 1969 and he went on to graduate from Cornell medical school and Harvard law school and establish a successful medical-malpractice law firm.
However, as Dan chased his star career, Betty grew resentful that he neglected her and their children.
Over the years their marriage crumbled and by 1983 Betty accused Dan of having an affair with Kolkena, his newly hired legal assistant, who some claimed looked like the younger version of Betty.
On one occasion Betty visited her husband’s office on his birthday and found the remnants of a party.
But her husband was nowhere to be found. A receptionist told her Broderick and Kolkena had gone out for the day. Outraged, Betty went home and burned her husband’s clothes in a bonfire.
The notorious case has been retold in podcasts, two films, and the USA TV series Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story starring Christian Slater (left) as Dan Broderick and Amanda Peet as Betty Broderick (right)
Rachel Keller as Linda Kolkena (left) with Christian Slater as Dan Broderick (right)
In 1985 Dan filed for divorce and in 1989 he married Kolkena, but the tensions between the newlywed couple and Betty only intensified.
‘Dan was ready to move on with his life,’ Busby said.
‘Him marrying Linda was a pretty clear signal that he wanted to start a new chapter in his life. And he was very torn. He was married to Betty for 16 plus years, so they had all that history. And his decision to move forward with his life was not an impulsive one. He loved his family. But he wanted to help create a better situation for his children. And things just weren’t getting better with Betty,’ he added.
Busby said as a divorcee himself, he understands to an extent how Betty might have felt.
‘But you just can’t condone that kind of behavior. You can’t enter someone’s home and expect them to talk to you with a gun,’ he said.
On the evening of November 5, 1989 Betty, armed with a Smith & Wesson revolver, snuck into Dan’s San Diego, California home using their daughter’s key.
After breaking into the home she shot Kolkena, then 28, in the head and chest and shot Dan, then 44, in the chest as they were both asleep in their bed.
A view of Dan Broderick’s home in San Diego where he was killed with Linda above
A preview of the new season of Snapped on Oxygen illustrating how police discovered Linda’s body above
Busby said Dan found a special love with his new wife Linda.
‘From my experience, I would describe their relationship as one of love,’ Busby said.
He said that the couple rarely brought up Betty and he felt that they were ’embarassed’ by the fued with her.
‘Dan was trying to figure out how to deal with the situation, of Betty not letting go,’ he said.
‘He was trained as a lawyer to let the legal system handle it. But it was a struggle. She would leave angry messages with curse words that the children heard. I guess he was hoping that she would move on, too, for the sake of her children,’ he added.
Betty Broderick pleads not guilty to murder charges on November 15, 1989 in San Diego California with her attorney Mark Wolf (left)
Betty was 41 when she committed the murders.
She never denied the killings but claimed she suffered years of physical and psychological abuse by Dan, even after their divorce.
She was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to 32 years in prison.
Betty is now 72 and remains in jail at the California Institute for Women.
In 2017 her parole request was denied and she’s not eligible for parole again until 2032 – when she’ll be 84.
‘The ones who lost the most here are the children. They lost both of their parents. That’s heartbreaking So much else could have happened here. There are no winners here,’ Busby said.