Dan Broderick was one of California’s most successful attorneys. His wife, Betty, was a beautiful socialite and mother of four. But when Betty discovered Dan’s hidden life, the façade of their marriage was shattered. What followed was a five-year battle that ended in a double-murder. Dan was a Harvard Law School graduate who, according to Betty, manipulated the law to strip her of everything: her home, her friends–even her children. When she tried to fight back, he had her committed to a mental hospital. Consumed by thoughts of revenge, Betty’s rage exploded on the night of November 5, 1989 when she entered Dan’s house carrying a gun. Dan and his new wife’s bullet-riddled bodies would be found wrapped in their blood-soaked sheets.
To some, Betty became the patron saint of marriage, executing her abusive, cheating husband and his “whore.” To others, Dan had suffered Betty’s abuse for fourteen years of marriage, left her well provided for, and then married the love of his life, only to be stalked and killed.
We will look at both sides of this case and discuss how a marriage can go so horrible wrong. If Betty were a man, there would be no question of her guilt. Did Betty use feminism and nationwide concerns of domestic abuse to build a cause for women scorned? Or, was she just a jealous, violent woman?