Truth About Linda Kolkena, Dan Broderick’s Wife Murdered By Betty Broderick

Linda Kolkena (born June 26, 1961; died 5 November 1989) was an American woman who was murdered by her husband’s ex-wife, Betty Broderick. Betty was enraged that her husband, Dan, had left her to marry Linda and this intense anger and bitterness led her to brutally murder the new couple while they slept.

The brutal murder case of Linda Kolkena and her husband caught the attention of the whole world as people expressed immense shock at what was seen as a senseless act of violence. Betty was eventually tried in court, convicted of two counts of second-degree murder, and sentenced to 32 years to life in prison.

Summary of Linda Kolkena’s Biography

  • Full name: Linda Kolkena
  • Gender: Female
  • Date of birth: June 26, 1961
  • Died: 5 November 1989
  • Age at death: 28 years
  • Ethnicity: Mixed
  • Nationality: American
  • Zodiac Sign: Cancer
  • Sexual Orientation: Straight
  • Religion: Christianity
  • Marital Status: Was married
  • Linda Kolkena’s Husband: Dan Broderick
  • Famous for: The Betty Broderick murder case

Linda Kolkena Was Born in Salt Lake City On June 26, 1961

Linda Kolkena was born on the 26th of June 1961. Her star sign was Cancer. According to our findings, she was born in Salt Lake City, the capital and most populous city of Utah, United States. This was also where she grew up with her family.

Reports show that Linda’s family was a close-knit one and everyone looked out for each other especially because the kids were raised in a religious way and were thought to place a high premium on observing Christian values.

Linda Kolkena’s Ethnicity Was Mixed

Linda Kolkena was a woman of diverse heritage, different reports have confirmed. Born in the USA, she was clearly an American woman, however, her lineage was more complex. This was because Linda’s parents were originally Danish citizens who decided to relocate to the United States in the 1950s.

As a result, Linda was born into a family of Danish immigrants, and her upbringing was influenced by Danish culture and traditions. Despite being raised in America, Linda was proud of her Danish heritage and embraced it as an essential part of her identity. She grew up speaking both English and Danish and was fluent in both languages.

Linda’s parents were also said to have Dutch roots as their family ancestry extended to The Netherlands. So, as a result, Linda was truly a multi-ethnic personality.

Linda Kolkena
Dan Broderick and Linda Kolkena

She Was The Youngest Of Four Siblings

Linda Kolkena was not an only child. As a matter of fact, she was the youngest of four sisters, according to reports. Not much is known about who her sisters were and what they later did for a living. One of her sisters was identified as Maggie Kolkena-Seats and she would later be very outspoken about defending and finding justice for Linda when she was killed.

Linda’s family was Catholic and so she and her siblings were raised to respect core Catholic doctrines. Reports show that Linda did not grow up rich as her parents were of modest means. However, her parents ensured the girls were properly raised and had all they needed to go through school and life. Also, Linda’s parents reportedly raised their daughters with traditional values, which meant that the girls were expected to become housewives and mothers.

Linda’s older sister Maggie Seats later recalled that in their family, the girls were taught that high school was the only necessary education ladies should have and that men should always be the breadwinners. This idea stuck with Linda and her sisters even as they grew into adult women much later in their lives.

Childhood was not all happy for Londa as well. This is because tragedy struck the Kolkena family when she was just 11 years old after her mother died of cancer, leaving her father to raise four daughters on his own afterward for some time. But, he soon remarried, and the family tried to adjust to their new life. They continued to practice their Catholic faith, and they prayed before every meal as the culture was.

Linda Kolkena Was A Flight Attendant

Despite their conservative upbringing, Linda Kolkena and her sisters were free-spirited. According to reports, the girls were very adventurous and curious about the world and wanted to explore. After graduating from school, Linda, who did not want to just settle and become a wife just yet, decided to go out and get herself a job. Soon, she got a job as a flight attendant for Delta Airlines.

Expectedly, Linda was very excited about working as a flight attendant as it meant she would travel and see new places. However, her career as a flight attendant was short-lived. According to our findings, she was soon fired for misconduct after she was allegedly caught kissing a male passenger and using obscene language toward another stewardess.

After she was sacked as a flight attendant, Linda Kolkena, who was undeterred, moved to Atlanta, where she worked briefly for an attorney. However, she soon decided to move again, this time to San Diego, California, to be closer to her boyfriend. It was in San Diego that Linda met Dan Broderick, a successful lawyer who had been married to his wife Betty since the mid-1950s.

Inside the Lives of Dan and Betty Broderick

Dan Broderick was an American man who was a very successful lawyer, having built his own medical malpractice law firm. Broderick was born on June 20, 1944, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was the eldest son of a very large Irish Catholic family in the USA. Dan Broderick was raised to be very respectful of people and was widely reported to be very well-known in his community as a cool-headed man.

After high school, Dan Broderick attended the University of Notre Dame, where he received a bachelor’s degree in economics, and later attended Harvard Law School, where he earned his law degree in 1969. After completing his education, Dan Broderick moved to San Diego, California, where he began practicing law. He quickly gained a reputation as a skilled attorney and was known for his aggressive litigation style. He specialized in medical malpractice cases and was known for winning large settlements for his clients.

On the other hand, Dan Broderick’s ex-wife, Betty Broderick (whose birth name is Elisabeth Anne Bisceglia) was born on November 7, 1947, and grew up in Bronxville, New York. She was the third of six children who were born to a couple called Marita and Frank Bisceglia. Betty’s parents owned a successful plastering business with their relatives. Betty is of mixed ethnicity because her father was of Italian-American descent, while her mother was Irish-American.

Linda Kolkena
Betty and Dan Broderick

Growing up, Betty’s parents were strict and had high expectations from all their children. She was reportedly raised with the expectation that she would become a housewife and support her future Catholic husband while he worked. She attended Catholic schools in New York and obtained her high school diploma in 1965. Betty then attended the College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx. She received a degree in early childhood education and English.

Betty met Dan Broderick at the University of Notre Dame in 1965. The couple got married on the 12th day of April 1969 in a catholic ceremony in the village of Tuckahoe, New York. Betty, who was raised to see marriage as the end goal for every woman, was very happy to have gotten married at last and was very prepared to carry out her “wife duties”.

After their honeymoon, Betty returned pregnant with their first child, a daughter named Kim who was born in 1970. The couple went on to have four more children: Lee in 1971, Daniel in 1976, Rhett in 1979, and an unnamed boy who tragically died four days after birth. Betty and her husband were known in their community as a successful and affluent family, and they were active members of their church and the local social scene.

How Linda Kolkena Met Betty Broderick 

Dan and Betty Broderick’s marriage was going very smoothly until Dan met Linda Kolkena. According to our findings, things changed for the couple when, in 1982, Dan Broderick met Linda Kolkena. At the time Linda had just gotten a job in the same building where his office was located. When he saw her, Dan was very smitten by Linda and her beauty so he decided to work with her. Despite the fact that she had no legal expertise and could not type, Dan hired her to be his secretary.

Linda was just 21 years old when she started working for Dan Broderick, and she quickly became a source of tension between him and his wife, Betty. Betty suspected that Dan was having an affair with Linda, and she was not happy about it. She believed that he was paying Linda to be with him for long hours while she was left alone with their children.

What Was the Age Difference Between Linda and Dan Broderick?

Interestingly, there was a large gap between the ages of Dan Broderick and Linda Kolkena. However, this did not stop their romance from budding. According to our findings, Dan, who was born in 1944, was about 37 years old at the time he met Linda while she was 21 years old at the time.

This meant that there was a 16-year age difference between Linda and Dan Broderick. But, apparently, the difference in their age was not a deterring factor in their romance at all. Their relationship continued to grow even though Linda worked for Dan as a secretary.

Dan’s Affair with Linda Led to Serious Problems in his Marriage

Linda Kolkena’s affair with Dan Broderick led to very serious problems, especially because Dan’s wife, Betty was a very jealous and protective wife. So, she started to suspect that her husband was having an affair with Linda almost immediately he hired her to be his secretary.

Betty’s suspicions were fueled by the fact Dan and Linda were spending a lot of time together. They were seen having lunch together and attending black-tie events as a pair. Betty also once overheard her husband telling a friend how beautiful his secretary Linda was. This was too much for Betty to bear as her jealousy flowed over. Eventually, Betty told Dan to fire, Linda, as his staff, however, Dan refused to do so. In fact, instead of firing Linda, he promoted her from being his secretary to his legal assistant.

Betty was furious when she found out about this. She also became even more furious when she discovered that Dan had celebrated his birthday with Linda and not with her and the family. So, in a fit of rage, she set fire to his clothes and caused commotion around the house. She scared their kids with her behavior as she went about destroying things.

Interestingly, in all these, Dan refused to acknowledge that he was in a relationship with Linda. Each time his wife brought up the topic, Dan always told her he was not dating Linda. According to reports, for years, Dan denied that he was having an affair with Linda Kolkena. However, in 1985, he finally told Betty the truth.

He admitted that he had been seeing Linda for the past three years and that he wanted a divorce. Betty was devastated by the news and refused to accept it peacefully. She felt that Dan had betrayed her and their children. She decided to deal with him.

Photo comparison of Betty Broderick (left) and Linda Kolkena (right) with Dan Broderick. (Photo courtesy of Oxygen.)

He and Betty had a Complicated and Messy Divorce

According to our findings, the divorce between Dan and Betty Broderick was a bitter and acrimonious affair that was marked by a series of escalating retaliations between the two parties. Betty was deeply hurt by Dan’s affair with Linda Kolkena, and she was determined to make him pay for his betrayal.

As the divorce proceedings continued, Betty became increasingly volatile and irrational. Betty believed that Dan, who had already established himself as a successful and prominent lawyer at this time, was making it really hard for her to find legal representation for the divorce proceedings. She believed that this created a significant disadvantage for her.

Betty also held the belief that Dan had exploited his legal expertise to obtain sole custody of their children, sell their house despite her objections, and deprive her of her fair share of his income. At this time, Dan was already living with Linda Kolken and had moved out of the house that he and Betty had been living in previously.

Because she was so enraged, Betty decided to get back at Dan and deal with him in any way she could. One day, she broke into Dan’s home and smeared a Boston cream pie, which Linda Kolkena had baked, on their bed, leaving a symbolic message of her anger and resentment. Dan, meanwhile, was not content to let Betty’s actions go unpunished. He began to fine her for each perceived infraction, reducing the amount of her monthly alimony checks.

This only served to further enrage Betty, who felt that she was being unfairly punished for her emotional outbursts. To make matters even worse, Linda Kolkena was said to have also gotten involved in the feud, allegedly sending Betty an anonymous letter containing a photo of her and Dan with the words, “Eat your heart out, b***h.”

Betty believed that Linda Kolkena was also responsible for sending her advertisements for wrinkle cream and weight-loss products, which only served to intensify her hatred of Linda. In the midst of all this chaos, Betty would often leave expletive-laden voice messages on the answering machine, further fueling the tension between the parties. Betty also claimed that Linda Kolkena had, in turn, became increasingly hostile towards her, adding to the already volatile situation.

The whole ordeal was a complete mess, with each side trying to gain the upper hand in their bitter divorce battle. Eventually, the divorce was finalized in 1989 and Dan got custody of their kids. This development got Betty even more enraged and she continued causing more commotion. She even drove her car into Dan’s house, causing damage to the property and risking harm to herself and others including her children who were in the house at the time.

When Did Linda Kolkena and Dan Broderick Get Married?

Dan Broderick and Linda Kolkena got married on April 22, 1989. The couple was not fazed by Betty’s anger and antics and in fact, while the divorce proceedings were still ongoing, Dan proposed to Linda in 1988. Less than a year later, they tied the knot. This was what Linda had always wanted; to get married and she was overjoyed. She was eager to start a family with Dan Broderick.

According to her sister, Linda had always dreamed of being a wife and a mother, and her marriage to Dan was the realization of that dream. Our findings show that Dan and Linda exchanged vows in the backyard of their home. However, Dan and Linda knew that Dan’s ex-wife, Betty, was still reeling from their bitter divorce and the loss of custody of their four children so they were also scared that Betty may cause chaos during the wedding.

They were so concerned about Betty’s behavior that Dan Broderick and Linda Kolkena actually wore bulletproof vests to their wedding just in case Betty showed up at the venue with a gun. However, despite their fears, Betty did not show up at the event and the wedding proceeded without any incident.

After the wedding, Dan and Linda went on a honeymoon to the Caribbean, mirroring the same trip that he and Betty had taken years before. Being a very wealthy and successful lawyer, Dan had more than enough resources to enjoy a full-blown honeymoon with his wife and this was exactly what he and Linda did. It is not clear just how long they were away on their honeymoon.

According to reports, Dan and Linda appeared to have been made for each other and people say they were head over heels in love. They were practically inseparable. Linda’s sister later revealed that Linda and Dan were obsessed with making plans on how they were going to build their new life together and how they were going to train the kids from Dan’s marriage to Betty. They were also concerned about Betty and planned to take more protective measures.

And they were right about that. Because Betty Broderick was still bitter about the whole thing. She was reportedly displeased with the divorce settlement and angry about Daniel’s new life with Linda. Her anger would eventually lead to a very devastating turn of events that would change her life forever.

Betty Broderick Murdered Dan and Linda Kolkena in their Bed in 1989

Betty Broderick’s anger towards her ex-husband Dan Broderick and his new wife, Linda kept steaming and this anger reached a boiling point in 1989 when the unthinkable happened. According to our findings, on November 5th, 1989, Dan and Linda were fatally shot dead by Dan’s ex-wife, Betty Broderick. Linda and Dan had only been married for about seven months before they were brutally killed.

Betty Broderick after her arrest

Reports show that the very sad incident occurred at 5:30 a.m. on that fateful day. That morning, Betty drove from her home to Dan and Linda’s home. She then gained entry to the house by using a key that she had stolen from one of her daughters. She came to the house with a .38-caliber revolver which she had purchased eight months prior and was ready to use it on her targets.

Upon entering the house, Betty made her way upstairs to the couple’s bedroom, where Linda and Dan were asleep. When Linda awoke and screamed, Betty fired five shots, hitting her once in the chest and once in the head, which proved fatal. Linda Kolkena died on the spot. Dan was also hit once in the chest while he was trying to reach for the phone and call for help. One bullet also hit the wall as Betty fired shots around the bedroom.

However, Dan did not die right away. Betty later claimed that she even sat down and spoke with him after shooting him. But she did not disclose what she told him. He eventually passed away before help could come. At the time of their deaths, Dan Broderick was 17 days short of reaching his 45th birthday while Linda Kolkena was just 28 years old.

After she shot Dan and Linda to death, Betty called her daughter Lee and Lee’s boyfriend to confess what she had done. Following this, she drove herself to the police station and turned herself in. She was promptly arrested. Betty never denied shooting her ex-husband and his wife. She, however, claimed that she did not shoot them on purpose and never planned to pull the trigger at them.

She claimed that she only wanted to scare them with the gun. However, she was startled when Linda Kolkena started screaming and this was what pushed her to pull the trigger. The medical examiner for San Diego County confirmed that Linda Kolkena had died immediately from the gunshot wounds. An autopsy confirmed that she had suffered two bullet wounds in her chest and head.

It is on record that Linda and Dan Broderick were buried together, at Greenwood Memorial Park in San Diego. As expected, their burial made several headlines and got many people divided with their opinions. Some people blamed Linda for breaking Betty’s happy marriage and some blamed Betty for not just taking things in good faith and moving on with her life.

Betty’s Murder Trial Gained Lots of Attention

After she was arrested, Betty Broderick was promptly charged to court and her trial sparked a lot of interest not just in the USA but around the world. Betty was represented by criminal defense attorney Jack Early during her trial, while Kerry Wells acted as the prosecutor for the State of California. Betty argued that she was a battered wife who had been driven to murder her ex-husband after years of physical, psychological, and mental abuse.

Wells, on the other hand, portrayed Broderick as a scheming murderer who had planned to kill her ex-husband and argued against the defense’s claim that Broderick was a battered woman. During the trial, Forensic psychiatrist and criminologist Dr. Park Dietz testified for the prosecution and claimed that Betty had histrionic and narcissistic personality disorders, which was in line with an earlier diagnosis of her as severely narcissistic and histrionic.

Clinical psychologist Katherine DiFrancesca testified for the defense and concluded that Broderick had histrionic traits with narcissistic features. According to reports, Betty’s first trial ended in a hung jury because two jurors held out for manslaughter after citing a lack of intent on her part.

Because of this, a mistrial was declared by Judge Thomas J. Whelan and this intrigued the audience that had been following the case as some thought Linda and Dan may not get the justice they deserved. Eventually, Betty Broderick was re-tried about a year later during which the same defense attorney and prosecutor were present. This time, the prosecution was successful, and the jury found Betty guilty of two murders in a verdict that made headlines.

Following her conviction, Betty Broderick was sentenced to serve two consecutive terms of 15 years to life in prison, plus two years for illegal use of a firearm. Betty has been locked up ever since the day she committed the murders and handed herself over to the authorities. She is currently serving her sentence at the California Institution for Women (CIW) in Chino, California.

As we have explained, the trial of Betty Broderick was highly publicized and divisive, with some people sympathizing with her as a jilted and mistreated ex-wife, and others condemning her as a jealous and vengeful killer. Ultimately, the jury found her guilty of second-degree murder, and she was sentenced to 32 years to life in prison. Betty Broderick remains incarcerated in California to this day.

Linda Kolkena
Betty Broderick in court in 1991

What Happened To Dan and Betty Broderick’s Children?

Following their father’s murder and their mother, Betty’s arrest, Dan and Betty’s children were dramatically pulled apart in different directions and lived in different places. According to reports, Betty’s oldest child, Kim was already 19 years old at the time of the murders and so was a grownup already. The second child, Lee was also about 18 years at the time.

So, it was easier for them to navigate life better after the incident. However, as expected, they reportedly struggled with the trauma of losing their father and stepmother to such a violent act. They were also not allowed contact with their mother while she was incarcerated during the trial. On the other hand, Betty’s two other children, Daniel and Rhett were much younger.

Following their mother’s arrest, Rhett who was then 13, and Daniel, who was 15 years old, relocated to Colorado to live with Kathy Broderick, the former wife of their uncle Larry Broderick. Rhett later recounted to Oprah that the ensuing years were tumultuous, with frequent shifts between relatives and enrollment in a boot camp for struggling teenagers. “I always felt scrutinized, as if everything I did was being attributed to my parents’ circumstances,” he shared.

In the years since the murders, the Broderick children have had to deal with the ongoing media attention surrounding their family’s story. Betty’s case has been the subject of multiple books, TV shows, and documentaries, all of which have added to the family’s trauma. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2020, Kim Broderick spoke about the impact the murders had on her and her siblings. She said, “It was like an atomic bomb went off in our family. Everything was destroyed. It was a horrible tragedy that we will never recover from.”

Betty’s Children Testified Against Her

Interestingly, during Betty Broderick’s trial, her children were called up to testify as witnesses against her. And they did testify! They described the tumultuous relationship between their parents and the events leading up to the murders. Kim and Lee Broderick testified about the difficulties that their parents had during their divorce. They stated that their mother was bitter and angry after the divorce and that she had harassed and threatened their father and his new wife, Linda Kolkena, over the years.

Kim also testified about how their mother had a history of abusive behavior, both physically and emotionally, toward their father. She also claimed that her mother told her she wanted to kill herself on the night the murders took place but could not do so because she ran out of bullets. Daniel and Rhett Broderick, who were much younger at the time of the murders, did not testify.

It is noteworthy that despite the testimony of her older children, Betty Broderick has always maintained that she did not intentionally kill the victims. She claimed that she had been driven to commit the crime by years of emotional abuse and mistreatment at the hands of Dan Broderick and that she was only driven to pull the trigger when she was startled by Linda Kolkena.

Betty Is Now Serving Time At California Institution for Women And Has Been Denied Parole

Betty Broderick is currently serving her sentence at the California Institution for Women (CIW), in Chino, east of Los Angeles, California. In January 2010, she made her first request for parole, but it was denied by the Board of Parole Hearings. The board stated that she had not shown any remorse for her actions and had not acknowledged her wrongdoing, making her an unsuitable candidate for release.

Despite her continued efforts, Broderick has been denied parole again in November 2011 and January 2017. The board determined that she still did not meet the criteria for release, as she had not taken responsibility for her actions or shown any signs of rehabilitation. As of now, Betty Broderick will not be eligible for parole again until January 2032, when she will be 84 years old. Until then, she will remain incarcerated at CIW.

The case of Betty Broderick continues to draw public interest and has been the subject of several books, movies, and television shows.


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