AUSTIN, Texas - Travis County is conducting a fatality review of the April 18 triple homicide in Northwest Austin. Meaning county officials are examining, what, if anything, could have been done to prevent the violence.
"Is there something we could have done that we didn’t see," explained retired Travis County Court 4 Judge Mike Denton.
Austin police say Amanda Broderick, 35, her 17-year-old daughter Alyssa Broderick and Alyssa Broderick’s boyfriend 18-year-old Willie Simmons III were killed by former Travis County Sheriff’s Office Detective Stephen Broderick. Stephen Broderick was Amanda Broderick’s estranged husband and Alyssa Broderick’s adoptive father.
In June 2020 Alyssa Broderick accused Stephen Broderick of sexual assault. Court documents indicate Stephen Broderick began physically and sexually abusing the teen in March 2020. Stephen Broderick spent less than a month in jail before posting a $50,000 bond.
Both women obtained a protective order and Stephen Broderick was ordered to wear a GPS monitoring device for five months before it was removed with court approval.
"Remember, we’re talking about people who have not been convicted of anything and they’re presumed to be innocent," said Doug O’Connell. The Austin-area defense attorney is not affiliated with Broderick’s case.
In recent days the removal of Broderick’s GPS monitor has made headlines and sparked outrage. But Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza believes "a GPS tracker would not have stopped [Broderick.]" Adding, "I am unfortunately pretty certain that Mr. Broderick used the specialized training and knowledge he had of the system and his experience as a law enforcement officer and in the military to commit a heinous crime."
Willie Simmons, Amanda Broderick, Alyssa Broderick, and the Brodericks’s then 9, now 10-year-old, son were at a court-ordered custody exchange when the attack occurred. Amanda and Stephen Broderick utilized a third-party visitation facilitator. Meaning Amanda Broderick was set to drop their son off with the third party at 11:45 a.m. Sunday. The third-party was supposed to take the child into a building where Stephen Broderick would arrive 15 minutes later for a supervised visit. The two parties should have never made contact.
Peter Lopez, Amanda Broderick’s divorce attorney told FOX 7 Austin his client supported the visits. "[Alyssa Broderick] still wanted the relationship between the youngest and his father."
"That was a court-ordered child custody transfer so even if Broderick had that GPS on his ankle it would not have registered a violation," said O’Connell.
"The GPS would not have sent an alert out to law enforcement that [Broderick] was there because he was ordered to be there." echoed Denton.
Under Broderick’s bond release conditions he was ordered to surrender his firearms and barred from obtaining any more. Investigators and prosecutors are working to determine how he obtained the murder weapon.
"He was prohibited from possessing firearms and yet tragically he possessed a firearm and people died," said O’Connell.
District Attorney Garza tells FOX 7 Austin a review of the county’s firearm surrender practices is underway.
"We have some work to do here in Travis County to make sure that all of the related agencies have an overall and comprehensive plan to make sure when a person is ordered to surrender their firearm that that happens."