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Crime News

How Betty Gore's Killing Divided A Texas Suburb

People were shocked when Candy Montgomery was accused of striking her church friend Betty Gore with an ax 41 times — but many also wanted to believe Candy's claims of self defense.

By Gina Tron
Jessica Biel as Candy Montgomery on Hulu's Candy.

After a mother and wife was brutally hacked 41 times with an ax by her church friend, the community in her Texas suburb, Wylie, was torn.

Betty Gore's 1980 murder is depicted in Hulu’s new series “Candy,” a five-night event that stars Melanie Lynskey as Gore and Jessica Biel as Gore’s friend Candy Montgomery.

Montgomery and Gore, both 30, became friends while singing in the same church choir together but their friendship was far from perfect. 

Montgomery's clean, cookie-cutter life began to wear on her, and she became increasingly bored with her marriage. She began fantasizing about cheating on her husband for months, Esquire reports. She ignited an affair with Betty's husband Allan Gore in 1979 — while Betty was pregnant with her second child. After Betty and Allan's daughter was born, he ended the relationship with Montgomery, leaving her feeling scorned.

Still, the Gores continued to be friends with Candy and her husband Pat, so much so that the Montgomerys babysat the Gore’s eldest daughter while Allan was out of town during a June 1980 business trip.

On June 13, Candy stopped by the Gore home to pick up a swimsuit for the child, which is when Betty confronted Candy about the affair. 

Candy would claim that, during that conversation, Betty grabbed an ax and became violent. She said she ended up killing Betty in self-defense, according to a 1984 Texas Monthly series of articles.

She didn't, however, report Betty's death or her role in it.

Candy Montgomery Spd 3015

Just weeks after the murder, Candy became the main suspect in the case, which sent shockwaves through the small community. Even the police struggled to understand how Candy, an attractive housewife, could also be a killer, according to Texas Monthly.

Many, including those in the couples' church, stood by Candy and her husband as rumors circulated. And, nearly every day, the couple would receive about six dozen greeting cards wishing them well under the circumstances.

“Candy was a really outgoing, likable person. She was very involved in her community, her church, she was in the choir, she taught Sunday school,” Robert Udashen, a defense attorney, told Oxygen's “Snapped,” which ran an episode on the case.

A trial ensued in the fall and the town of Wylie was conflicted over Candy’s role in Betty's death. Many were left wondering how such a demure woman who was deeply involved in her church could hack up her friend. 

“Was Candy an ax murderer or a loving Christian mother? Was she both? The public was divided,” the Esquire piece emphasizes. 

The community, even decades later, is still marred by the tragedy, the Dallas Morning News reported in 2010. 

The jury ultimately believed Candy, however: They acquitted her months after Betty was killed. Candy left the state and has kept a low profile ever since.