AUSTIN, Texas - Stephen Broderick, a former Travis County Sheriff’s detective, pled guilty to killing his estranged wife, Amanda Broderick, her daughter and his adopted teenage daughter, Alyssa Broderick, and her boyfriend Willie Simmons III, in Travis County Court Tuesday.
Broderick killed the trio as they arrived at drop-off for a supervised custody visit in April 2021. Broderick was scheduled to see his son, a child he and Amanda Broderick had together. The boy turned 10-years-old just two days after the incident.
The child, who had brought his father a tres leches cake, escaped the attack by getting into the vehicle of a passing motorist and asking them to call 9-1-1.
Court documents indicate Stephen Broderick began sexually and physically abusing then 16-year-old Alyssa Broderick in March 2020.
On June 3, 2020, he was accused of sexually assaulting Alyssa Broderick after Amanda Broderick took her to Dell Children’s hospital for a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam. Medical professionals found evidence of trauma.
Amanda Broderick filed for divorce one month after the reported attack. In November 2020, Stephen Broderick was indicted on 12 counts of physical and sexual abuse.
Stephen Broderick spent less than a month in the Travis County Jail. He posted bond and was released from jail in early July. He was ordered to have no contact with Alyssa Broderick, surrender his firearms, obtain no new firearms, and wear a GPS tracker. Five months later that tracker was removed.
Broderick was booked into the Travis County jail under a $100,000 bond. It was then set to $50,000, but raised to $75,000 after Amanda Broderick reported he sent her sexually explicit images. He was ordered not to contact her as well.
"[Amanda and Alyssa Broderick] would still be alive had they kept [Stephen Broderick] in jail and had they listened to Amanda, and they did not listen to him. They ignored their pleas for help," said Stephanie Yell, Alyssa Broderick’s basketball coach.
As part of Tuesday’s plea deal the 12 counts of physical and sexual abuse were dropped despite the family’s wishes.
"There’s physical DNA at the hospital. How is that not [Alyssa Broderick’s] voice? How is that not enough? Do you understand that she had to literally take the DNA and hold it in her hand? Tell her mom what happened? Go all the way to the hospital? Hand it over to somebody else and tell her story? And today it isn’t [her story.] Today they are silencing her. Today they are saying it doesn’t matter," said Erica Ramirez, Amanda Broderick’s sister and Alyssa Broderick’s aunt.
The family held a silent protest outside the Travis County Courthouse Tuesday ahead of the hearing.
"Why ask us? Why tell us [the sexual and physical abuse case] is something that you want to go forward with? It may take years. We don’t care. We don’t care. We don’t care. We will fight it all the way. We will fight it," said Ramirez.
Ramirez told FOX 7 Austin Travis County District Attorney José Garza told the family that it would be difficult to prove the sexual and physical abuse case without Alyssa Broderick. He also told family members taking the case to court could risk the capital murder conviction and may result in a number of lengthy appeals.
- Stephen Broderick indicted for capital murder in April deaths
- Homicide victims had protective order against former TCSO detective
- Triple homicide suspect at center of child sexual abuse investigation
Charlie Baird is a criminal defense attorney and former judge. He retired from the 299th District Court of Travis County, the same court Stephen Broderick pleaded guilty on Tuesday.
Baird acknowledged that while it would be more difficult to prove the sexual and physical abuse case without the victim, Alyssa Broderick, present — Texas has the "forfeiture by wrongdoing doctrine."
"Which means if the defendant tampers with a witness so that the witness is not available to testify at trial, the state can put into evidence the statements the witness made when she reported the crime," he said.
As part of the plea Stephen Broderick waived his right to appeal the capital murder conviction. The death penalty was taken off the table. He will spend his life in prison.
"When [Alyssa Broderick] spoke up in her outcry, in her very own words she said, ‘It's not like I could tell the police. My dad is the police.’ What message are we sending?" asked Ramirez.
"We are hoping to change the law to help victims hold their offenders accountable. If there is DNA evidence that is collected at the hospital during a medical examination, and it's proven to be the accused, they should have to face the charge(s) especially if they are murdered by the offender.
Please show support by signing this petition and show our public defenders (District Attorney) that taking a deal from a murderer just because it makes their job easier should not be acceptable. "
"No one really wins. Alyssa's not coming home, Amanda's not coming home, Willie's not coming home. So the only thing we can do is look forward and prepare ourselves to go where they went (heaven) because they're all good people. You're not going to go there. No," said Simmon’s mother, Vanissa Penson.
"And that's what I want you to know as Willie's mom. That I got to see my son pretty much besides grow old, I saw my son live his life. I saw my son achieve so much…So I just want you to know that you really didn't take anything from us, and we still are able to smile," she added.
"We are grateful for our committed prosecutors who worked tirelessly to hold Mr. Broderick accountable and ensured that he will spend the rest of his life in prison and cause no more harm to our community," Travis County District Attorney José Garza said in a news release. "My heart continues to break for the victims of this senseless act of violence and their families. We hope this outcome brings closure and peace to the victims’ families."