It’s not unusual for a network or streaming service to make a show about a lesser known case. What is unusual is for two of them to do so in the same year. That’s exactly what’s happening with the Candy Montgomery case.
In June of 1980, Betty Gore was found dead in her home after being violently attacked. As both Hulu’s Candy and HBO’s Love and Death will show, the cause of her death wasn’t a random drifter or a family member. Instead, it was her church friend. Need a guide to the dark details before streaming these fictional takes on reality? Here’s what you need to know.
What Happened to Betty Gore?
On June 13, 1980, Betty Gore’s husband, Allan, was away on a business trip. By the evening, he was getting worried. He had been unable to reach his wife back home in Texas, which was unlike her. He asked his neighbors to check on her, and they were the ones who discovered the bloody body of Betty Gore as well as a three-foot axe. Gore’s daughter was also found in the house, a one-year-old who had been unattended for hours. The investigation later uncovered that Gore had been struck with the axe 41 times.
Initially, authorities thought that a drifter was responsible for the crime. That theory changed once Betty Gore’s husband, Allan Gore, admitted that he had been having an affair with their family friend, Candy Montgomery. That’s when this case started to become more confusing.
Who Was Candy Montgomery?
Montgomery and Gore met at the First United Methodist Church of Lucas. From there, they became church friends and later family friends. But while Candy Montgomery was close with Betty, she was even closer to Allan Gore. The two started having an affair, which began in December of 1978 and lasted until October of 1979.
There were other details that indicated that Montgomery knew more about this death than what she initially told authorities. Montgomery was the last person to see Gore alive the morning of June 13, when she dropped by the Gores’ house to run an errand. Her fingerprint also matched a bloody one found at the scene of the crime. Two weeks after Gore’s murder, Montgomery was arrested as the prime suspect in this case.
Did Candy Montgomery Murder Betty Gore?
This is where things get murky. While on trial, Montgomery gave her account of what happened, claiming that when she stopped by Gore’s house on June 13, the other woman asked Montgomery if she was having an affair with Gore’s husband. Montgomery admitted to the relationship but said it had ended. That’s when Gore threatened Montgomery with an axe and told her to stay away from her family.
By Montgomery’s account, things seemed to settle down between the two women until Montgomery touched Gore’s arm. That’s when Gore swiped at Montgomery’s head and toe with the weapon. They two women fought, but it wasn’t until Gore told Montgomery “Shhh” that things took a turn for the grisly. Montgomery was able to overpower Gore and grab the axe. “I didn’t think,” Montgomery testified at her trial. “I didn’t think at all. I raised it and I hit her, and I hit her, and I hit her, and I hit her.”
Montgomery then took a shower at the Gore household, returned to church, then got lunch with her friends. She left Gore’s baby upstairs and destroyed the sandals she was wearing during the attack.
Her attorney later argued that Montgomery only attacked Gore in self-defense. That wasn’t the only surprising claim made. At some point, a psychiatrist who had put Montgomery under hypnosis months before the trial took the stand. Dr. Fred Fason claimed that Gore’s “Shhh” made Montgomery think of an unpleasant memory with her mother. When Gore tried to quiet her, it caused Montgomery to release years of pent up rage. Hypnosis aside, this case hinged on one central question: Was is murder or was it self-defense?
Montgomery was ultimately found not guilty of both murder and manslaughter. Many members of the community were outraged by this decision. Montgomery was called a “murderer” as she left the courthouse, and several cited the 41 blows as evidence that this couldn’t have been an accident. At least one juror addressed this argument, stating that the violence of Gore’s death had no bearing on the verdict.
Where is Candy Montgomery Now?
According to the Daily Mail, the Montgomerys stayed together after the trial and moved to Georgia. Candy Montgomery now goes by her maiden name of Candace Wheeler and works as a therapist for teens and adults. Neither of the Montgomerys have addressed the Hulu and HBO series coming out about their lives.