What Happened to Betty Broderick IRL?

'Dirty John' season two, "The Betty Broderick Story," covers the housewife-turned-murderer. Sentenced to 32 years in prison in 1991, what happened to Betty?

If you're intrigued by the second season of Dirty John, which will cover the Betty Broderick story, you only have to wait until June 2 to watch the new season. If you're unfamiliar (spoilers for the real-life case), Betty and Daniel Broderick were a married couple with four children—then he cheated on her, left her for his secretary, and sparked one of the most contentious divorces of its time. But the drama didn't stop there: The struggle only ended when Betty murdered Daniel and new wife Linda in their own home. The show will cover the Brodericks' early life to their legal battles to her trial and ultimate conviction. As you watch, you may wonder—what's become of Betty? Where is she now? Is she in jail, or has she been allowed to go free?

The short answer is: Betty is still in jail for second-degree murder. She was sentenced in 1991 to 32 years to life—which included two 15 year to life sentences for the killings. She's at the California Institution for Women, and she was denied parole twice: first in 2010 and then again in 2017.

The court denied the parole for the longest term possible (15 years), which means that she'll be re-eligible in 2032. She might be eligible sooner, pending certain conditions that could include good behavior.

At the time, Deputy District Attorney Richard Sachs argued against parole at the hearing, and explained his reasoning. "Betty Broderick is an unrepentant woman," he said. "She has no remorse and zero insight into the killings…She just basically said 'they drove me to do this.'"

A similar argument was made in 2010; Betty blamed her actions on the divorce and didn't change her account of what happened that night: "Linda came at me and the gun went off." (She maintained throughout her trials that the murders were not premeditated, although she admitted she tore the Brodericks' phone out of the wall so Daniel couldn't call for help.)

Betty's children are apparently split on whether their mother should be free; she has apparently asked for letters from them recommending that she be released early. Rhett Broderick, Betty's youngest son, summed it up like this in an interview with Oprah: "She's a nice lady. Everyone here would like her...if they spoke with her on any topic other than my dad. Keeping her in prison isn't really helping her. She's not a danger to society—the only two people she was a danger to are dead."

Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.