Candy Montgomery: The grisly true story of the ax murder that inspired the Hulu series

VSAndy Montgomery wanted fireworks. That’s what she told her friend Sherry Cleckler about her affair with the man whose wife she was accused of killing with an axe.

Montgomery, a suburban Christian housewife in northeast Texas, was the prime suspect in the death of her friend Betty Gore on Friday, June 13, 1980. Gore and Montgomery had met at Lucas Methodist Church, whose Montgomery was an active member. By 1978, Montgomery had begun a relationship with Gore’s husband, Allan.

His story – that of a secret affair followed by a criminal trial, testimony collected in part by hypnosis sessions, and Montgomery’s ultimate acquittal – will now be told in two separate limited series. One of them, Candy, will star Jessica Biel as Montgomery. (Elisabeth Moss was originally supposed to play the role but had to drop out.) The other, love and deathset to air on HBO Max later this year after being adapted from twoTexas monthly articles from 1984, and will star Elizabeth Olsen in the same role.

Montgomery and her husband Pat Montgomery moved to Collin County, Texas in 1977, according to Oxygen. Montgomery had grown up in a military family, moving to various locations throughout his youth. The Montgomerys had a son and a daughter. According to Texas monthly, their marriage was comfortable — Pat Montgomery earned a good salary at Texas Instruments, a tech company — but routine. Candy Montgomery, like Texas monthly writers Jim Atkinson and John Bloom wrote in their book Proof of love: a true story of passion and death in the suburbstold a friend that she was “crazy bored”.

Candy Montgomery met Allan Gore – literally – in the summer of 1978, when they were both playing on the church volleyball court. Betty had met Allan while attending college, where, according to Oxygen, he was a teaching assistant in one of his classes. The two had married in 1970 and had their first child, a daughter, before moving to Collin County.

Allan and Candy Montgomery’s chance meeting during the volleyball game is said to have been followed by a few weeks of flirting, leading to Montgomery finally confiding her attraction to Allan. After some back and forth during which they weighed the pros and cons of a possible affair, Montgomery and Allan, according to Texas monthlydecided to have an affair from December 12, 1978.

Montgomery and Allan saw each other for a few months. Montgomery reportedly told Allan she was afraid the affair was getting too intense, but the relationship continued. Shortly after the birth of Allan and Betty Gore’s second child, another daughter, in July 1979, Allan began signaling to Montgomery that he wanted to distance himself from the affair and work on his marriage to Betty. It was Montgomery who, according to Atkinson and Bloom, finally told him, “Allan, you seem to be leaving it to me to deal with. So I decided, I won’t call. I won’t try to see you. I won’t bother you anymore.

On June 13, 1980, Allan Gore, on a business trip and having tried to reach his wife by telephone to no avail, allegedly called his neighbor to ask him to check if Betty was home. He then phoned Montgomery, who told him that she had seen his wife earlier that day and nothing seemed to be wrong.

Allan reportedly asked his neighbor, Richard Parker, to go home and check to see if Betty’s car was in the garage. Parker and two other local acquaintances, Jerry McMahan and Lester Gayler, eventually set out together to investigate the residence and figure out why Betty was unreachable. Gayler discovered Betty’s body in the laundry room – although, according to Atkinson and Bloom, he did not see her body at first, but rather “thick, frozen oceans of reddish-brown blood glistening on the tiled floor”. Betty, it was later reported, had been struck by an ax 41 times.

Betty Gore died on June 13, 1980.


A bloody print suggested investigators should be looking for “someone small, whether it’s a child or a woman,” former Collin County investigator Steven Deffibaugh said. Oxygen program Broken. According to the network, Montgomery first told authorities that Betty and Allan’s oldest daughter stayed home overnight and saw Betty in the morning to pick up Alisa’s bathing suit before a swimming lesson. . It was Allan who reportedly told detectives about his affair with Montgomery. From there, Montgomery became the prime suspect in Betty’s murder. She was arrested on June 27, 1980 and charged with his murder.

Defbaugh said Oxygen that when Montgomery changed into prison clothes, staff members noticed “all those bruises and also a cut on his toe”. When Montgomery’s trial began in October 1980, her legal team made no attempt to deny that she killed Betty Gore. But they argued she did so in self-defense and should therefore be found not guilty of murder. Betty, they said, had first attacked Montgomery with the axe, severing his toe.

Before the trial, Montgomery’s attorney, Don Crowder, had called Dr. Fred Fason, a psychiatrist experienced in the practice of hypnosis.

The admissibility of testimony given under hypnosis varies in the United States from state to state; the Department of Justice previously noted that “Federal courts dealing with the issue of hypnosis-induced testimony of a prosecution witness have generally permitted the use of such testimony, finding that the fact of hypnosis affects only the credibility of the witness and not his competence or the admissibility of his testimony”.

Jessica Biel as Candy Montgomery in Hulu’s “Candy” series


Melanie Lynskey as Betty Gore in Hulu’s ‘Candy’ series


In a caveat, the DOJ added that “in the late 1980s and 1990s, the issue of admissibility…of testimonials refreshed or enhanced by hypnosis entered a state of ‘flow,’ largely caused by cases involving unsubstantiated allegations of child sexual abuse as a result of ‘regressive therapy’ or other forms of hypnosis-related therapy to bring out ‘repressed’ memories of childhood incidents . This series of cases saw numerous convictions subsequently overturned on appeal based on reconsideration of the admissibility issue, and ultimately resulted in federal courts adopting a “case-by-case approach”. case” in which the court has “the discretion to balance all of the factors in determining the reliability of the evidence and the probative or prejudicial effect of the testimony.

In Montgomery’s case, Fason said her sessions with Montgomery exposed childhood trauma as well as her memories of the day Betty Gore died. According to Atkinson and Bloom, by the end of the first session, “Fason had done what Crowder asked him to do. He had found… the trigger for Candy Montgomery’s rage.

Elizabeth Olsen as Candy Montgomery in the HBO Max series Love & Death

(Courtesy of HBO Max)

Elizabeth Olsen as Candy Montgomery in the HBO Max series Love & Death

(Courtesy of HBO Max)

According to Texas monthly, Montgomery said she was at Betty Gore collecting Betty’s daughter’s swimsuit when Betty confronted her about her affair with Allan. Betty attacked Montgomery with an axe, hitting her in the head and toe. The two fought; Montgomery allegedly shoved Betty and, with Betty facing upwards, “raised the ax with both hands and dropped the blade to the back of Betty’s head”. The physical fight continued. According to Bloom and Atkinson, Fason testified that at one point Betty told Montgomery to “shhhhhh”, which the psychiatrist said brought to the surface a childhood memory of Montgomery. According to Fason, there was “a connection” between the memory of Montgomery being silenced by her mother during a specific incident when she was a child, and being silenced by Betty.

In the end, it took the jury just over three hours to reach a verdict and find Montgomery not guilty of the murder of Betty Gore, the United Press International the agency reported on October 30, 1980. Montgomery reportedly showed “no emotion” as the verdict was read – the judge, according to Atkinson and Bloom, had asked everyone in the courtroom, including the parties, to refrain from reacting in any way when he has read the decision aloud. Montgomery ‘did back the tears though’ IPU reported, “as she and her husband Pat were taken out of the Collin County Courthouse under heavy guard after [District Judge Tom Ryan] received a letter threatening his life.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Allan Gore eventually remarried and moved to a new place. Candy Montgomery is also said to have moved on and, according to the newspaper, obtained certification as a family counselor.

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