Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Betty Broderick: Divorce... Desperation...Death

Mood Swing

Deserted and still spinning, the situation overwhelmed Betty. Knowing she should accept fate and grasp the reality that Dan wanted out and Linda had won him, she just could not erase the anger that had been building up inside her those past months; it was an anger that she felt it bubbled red-hot. By this time, she had learned that Dan's affair with Linda had become public knowledge, and that knowledge humiliated her as his wife. He was her husband, damn it, and the bimbo had no claim to him! Not long after the sheriff's representative served her Dan's initiated divorce papers, the first of the scorned wife's many revenge tactics occurred.

Betty's change came suddenly to all watchers. She began to fight back with a vengeance. One afternoon, having stopped at the Coral Reef house to visit her children, she spotted a homemade Boston cream pie always Dan's favorite sitting on the kitchen counter. Learning from the housekeeper that Linda had dropped it off for Dan, Betty proceeded to carry it upstairs to spread its chocolate contents across Dan's bed once their bed and his closet-full of fine clothes. Dan, arriving home, surveyed the damage and immediately had a restraining order issued to keep his wife off the premises.

Notwithstanding, two days later, infuriated by the order that forbade her to set foot in what she still considered her house too, she flung a wine bottle through a window. Summoned police refused to become involved in what they estimated as just another domestic battle among the idle rich.

Betty's behavior was beginning to show signs of neurosis; of that there is no doubt. She felt the only world she knew, and had prepared for and loved, slipping out from beneath her feet the home, the family dinners, the backyard barbecues, the civic clubs, the husband. She would say years later in her Lexxicon interview that if Dan had been honest with her from the start she may have better coped, but he seemed to be playing and enjoying mind games.

"(I had) no desire to leave my home, marriage and children," she pleads. "If he had been discreet, he could have kept (Linda), but he was trying to force ME into divorcing him, so he could always appear the good guy...He maneuvered us into a rental house and a rental car, both in his name and he ended up with our house with the equity...Master manipulator of money, truth, people, courts, facts...It was very scary."

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