After Betty Broderick’s marriage to successful attorney Dan Broderick crumbled, she sought refuge in the arms of another man. Betty and her boyfriend, however, would never get a happy ending.
Instead, Betty landed herself behind bars for sneaking into Dan’s San Diego home early one morning and shooting her former husband and his new bride, Linda Kolkena Broderick, to death as they slept in their bed following a bitter and drawn-out divorce.
Betty is still serving a sentence of 32 years to life for the 1989 slayings, and her case has inspired the second season of "Dirty John," streaming now on USA.
But whatever happened to her boyfriend, Bradley T. Wright?
The Younger Man
Wright, a tall businessman and avid sailor, and Betty had been seeing each other “for years” before the murders, according to a 1990 profile in the Los Angeles Times.
Following the dissolution of Betty's marriage to Dan, the couple often traveled together or stayed at Betty’s home. The pair even reached some element of a domestic routine, and Betty often left him to-do lists on the refrigerator with various tasks to complete.
“He did the boy jobs; I did the girl jobs,” Betty told the paper at the time.
But Wright, who owned a fence construction business, was six years younger than Betty, and the age gap between them bothered her.
“I never brought Brad anywhere as my date because he was too young. I didn’t want to be the other half of the midlife joke,” she said.
Betty initially denied that she and Wright had been intimate. When asked why he frequently slept over at her house, she told the Los Angeles Times it was “like having a dog, but he was house trained." However, Wright openly discussed their sexual relationship with Bella Stumbo, who penned the book “Until the Twelfth of Never.”
Wright, who often referred to himself as Betty’s boyfriend, reportedly told Stumbo that he used to call Betty by the pet name Dinosaur, but he changed the name to Bear after she started gaining weight, according to a 1993 article in the San Diego Reader. He also told Stumbo that Betty referred to him as “Animal” — a reference to their athletic sexual romps with one another. Wright claimed at the time that he even broke one of Betty’s ribs during a particularly spirited encounter.
Betty, however, told Stumbo that the sex had been better with Dan “because Brad wasn’t my husband,” the news outlet reported.
The morning Betty shot her ex-husband and his wife to death, Wright had been asleep at her home.
Betty snuck into Dan’s Marston Hills house on Nov. 5, 1989 and found the newlywed couple asleep in their bedroom. Standing in the dark over their bed, Betty fired her .38-caliber revolver five times in quick succession.
Three of the bullets hit the slumbering couple.
Linda was shot in the neck, with the bullet lodging in her brain and in the stomach, according to the Los Angeles Times. Dan was hit by a bullet that fractured his rib and tore through his lung.
Betty’s younger daughter, Kathy Lee Broderick, later testified in court that Betty told her daughter that after she fired, Dan sat up in bed and said, “Alright, you shot me. I’m dead,” according to CourtTV.
Dan dove to the floor, landing near the phone, which Betty ripped from the wall. She then fled the scene and called her friend Diane Black, who in turn reached out to Wright around 7:30 a.m. that morning. Black told Wright that Betty said she had shot Dan.
Wright and a friend of Dan’s rushed to the Marston Hills home where they found bloody bodies inside.
Taking The Stand
Wright later testified about his relationship with Betty during a 1990 preliminary hearing, according to the Los Angeles Times. He told the court that Betty often spoke about how much she hated Dan and that she wanted to kill him.
The pair continued to talk regularly after her arrest, and Wright testified that Betty told him she had killed her former husband.
"Did she ever make a comment to you that the medical community owed her thanks for killing Dan Broderick?" asked prosecutor Kerry Wells.
"Yes," Wright responded.
When Betty was convicted of second-degree murder for the slayings in a second trial, Wright told the Los Angeles Times that he wasn’t shocked by the jury’s verdict.
"I think the outcome of this trial is not necessarily surprising, given the evidence that was presented to the jury," Wright said.
He was critical of the judge, however, and believed that compared to Betty's first trial, he did not let in enough evidence that could have helped her case.
"Betty's major concern that she voiced to me was that the jury did not get to see nearly the amount of stuff they got to see last time," Wright said at the time. "This is good grounds for an appeal."
Care Packages and Prison Visits
Betty never got an appeal, however, and she remains behind bars to this day.
Wright and Betty continued to stay in touch with each other even after her conviction. Wright visited her in prison twice and often sent her care packages filled with cookies, bath oil, cosmetics, and tennis shoes, PEOPLE reported in 1992.
During a 1998 profile in the San Diego Reader, Betty said that Wright had been taking care of her property while she was in jail, including storing her expensive Sevres porcelain. He also put $150 into her prison account each month for her to purchase prison extras. At one point, they talked on the phone as often as three to five times a week.
But she also confided that Wright had not come to visit her in a long time, and that she had been having difficulty reaching him by phone. Betty believed that Wright’s girlfriend at the time was jealous of the friendship the two continued to share.
She had been hoping that Wright would send her money to visit a San Diego dentist for a tooth ache she was having, but Wright never sent the money. Instead, he sent her a letter sympathizing with her tooth problems.
Why Wasn't He Portrayed In 'Dirty John'?
While Wright seemed to play a major role in Betty's life after her divorce, his character was not included in "Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story." That creative decision was mostly influenced by Betty's views on the relationship, according to the series showrunner Alexandra Cunningham.
"When we started out, I actually wanted to include him, and we had him included in a lot of the pitches in the middle episodes. But the reason that I chose not to do that had a lot to do with how Betty herself talked about him and regarded him," Cunningham said in an interview with Oxygen podcast "Martinis & Murder."
Due to their age gap and the fact that Wright was a blue-collar businessman and hadn't attended an Ivy League school, Betty avoided being seen in public with Wright and even told most of her friends that he was gay. Although Wright was a "kind man who cared about her and did his best to distract her," Betty never took the relationship seriously, according to Cunningham.
"Bella Stumbo said in her book something along the lines of that Betty was and remains completely embarrassed by her lonely liaison, and that Brad would never really count to her ... It was clear that his presence in her life did not affect any of her interactions with Dan or her thought process or decision-making," Cunningham said.
Little is known about what happened to Wright after that point or whether he remains in contact with Betty today.
Attempts by Oxygen.com to locate Wright were unsuccessful.
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