Should we call Candy Montgomery a loving mother or an axe murderer? Candy Montgomery became the prime subject of brutally murdering Betty Gore.
Read on to know more about this harrowing murder mystery.
Who is Candy Montgomery?
Candy Montogomery aka Candace Wheeler is an American homemaker. She was accused of murdering Betty Gore, the wife of her lover. She assaulted Gore 41 times with a 3-foot-long axe. The said incident took played in Whylie, Texas on June 13, 1980.
Candy was 30 years old at the time of the incident. She was married to Pat Montgomery who was an electrical engineer. She had two children- a son and a daughter. Like any other Christian wife, she regularly attended the First United Methodist Church of Lucas.
The Murder of Betty Gore
Betty Gore, an elementary school teacher, was found dead by her two neighbours Lester Gaylor and Richard Parker. Her body was found mutilated with 41 axe wounds while the murder weapon was confiscated in the Texas home she shared with her husband and children. So what exactly happened?
Candy became close friends with Betty Gore after meeting her at a church service. She lived nearby with her two children and her husband Allan, with whom Candy embarked on an extramarital affair.
Everything turns bitter when Gore’s husband Allan was out of town. When he was unable to reach his wife, he requested the neighbours to go and contact her. They forced their way into the house but it was too late by then.
Betty’s corpse was discovered in a mutilated condition. Their daughter, Bethany who was sleeping in her crib in another room was awake and crying. The evidence of fingerprints and footprints found at the crime scene points at Candy. Candy was arrested on June 27.
Candy takes Self-Defense Plea
Candy Montgomery’s trial began in October 1980 and she confessed to the murder of Betty Gore stating that it was an act done in self-defence. The trial continued for eight days in McKinney and the jury consisted of nine women and three men.
If we go back to the day of the crime, it all started when Betty’s older daughter, Alisa, slept over at the Montgomery house and Candy offered to drive her to her swing lesson the next day. When Candy stopped at the Gore house to pick up Alisa’s swimsuit, a confrontation took place between the two wives related to Candy’s affair with Allan.
Candy’s defense attorney Robert Udashen argued in court that on the day of the confrontation, Betty took out an axe from her garage and attacked Candy. In this tussle, Candy managed to overcharge Betty and killed her.
However, it came out in the postmortem that some axe wounds were inflicted while Betty was unconscious. Betty also submitted that she was compelled to use an axe after Gore had attempted to strike her moments before with the same weapon. Montgomery underwent a polygraph test before the trial, which indicated that she was being truthful.
On the other hand, District attorney Tom O’Connell put forward strong arguments stating that she could have fled the scene. He pointed out that attacking 41 times was disproportionate, therefore, the case does not fall under the purview of self defense.
In the end, the district judge Tom Ryan found Candy Montgomery not guilty of the offense on October 30, 1980. This came as a shocking verdict to people with sane minds. Many criticised the verdict and chanted “Murderer! Murderer!” as Candy exited the courthouse following her acquittal. Betty’s father said:
“As far as I’m concerned, justice will be served. She has to live with it… I wouldn’t say I was happy with the verdict. We don’t know what happened and we never will know what happened.”
Where is Candy Montgomery Now?
Candy was asked about the reason for having an extramarital affair even after having a happy family. She said that the affair with Allan was not emotional. It was just to shake up her “very boring” marriage with Pat. She also stated that they wanted to remain married to their respective spouses.
Candy may be acquitted but she would have to live with a pang of guilt forever. She now goes by the name of Candace Wheeler and works as a therapy provider for teens and adults. After the trial, she and her husband divorced and Pat moved to Georgia. As per reliable sources, Candy still lives in Texas.
About the Series
The case was first covered by reporters John Bloom and Jim Atkinson who published a well-researched book in 1984 about the case titled “Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs. The book has been really helpful in the making of these two series. What do you think about this case?
Hulu’s Candy provides a “sepia-toned” rendering of this horrific tale. Jessica Biel is playing the role of Candy while Melanie Lynskey is portraying Betty Gore. The series will take a new look at the incident more than four decades later.
Candy premiered on May 9, 2022. Candy’s director Michael Uppendahi, who directed Mad Men stated, “I change my approach to material based on every single thing that I do. All the material is different, whether it’s true or not. It forces you to flex different muscles or develop new muscles that you don’t have.”
On the other hand, HBO Max’s Love and Death is a limited series that stars Elizabeth Olsen as Candy Montgomery. The series was written by Kelley and is based on a collection of articles found in Texas Monthly that share the same name (“Love & Death in Silicon Prairie”) along with the book Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death.