By: Dana Poll, MLIS

The perplexing case of Candy Montgomery delves into profound questions about love, betrayal, and the human capacity for violence.

Candy Montgomery — Quick Facts

Name: Candace Lynn (Wheeler) Montgomery

Birth: November 15, 1949 – Lucas, Texas

Family: Pat Montgomery (husband), two children — a daughter and son

Extramarital Affair: Allan Gore

Victim: Betty Gore, Allan’s wife

Dates of Murder: June 13, 1980

Date Apprehended: June 26, 1980

Location: Wiley, Texas

Cause of Death: Struck 41 times with a 3 ft. ax.

Verdict: Not Guilty: A jury of 9 women and 3 men deliberated for 3 hours and found her not guilty

Who was Candace Montgomery?

Candace (Candy) Lynn Wheeler Montgomery was born on November 15, 1949, in Lucas, Texas. Her father was a radar technician in the Army, and she spent her childhood moving from base to base. At 18, she met and fell in love with an electrical engineer named Pat Montgomery, who worked at Texas Instruments. They married and had two children, Jenny, in 1973 and their son, Ian, in 1974. The family built a home and settled in Wylie, Texas a few years later. Financially, the family did well. Pat made $70,000 in 1977. Adjusted for inflation, this is equal to $356,972 in 2023.

Candy seemed to have it all — until something turned this fun-loving, churchgoing, attentive mom into an ax murderer. 

Know the Victim: Betty Pomeroy Gore

Betty Pomeroy was born in Norwich, Kansas on January 9, 1950, to Bob and Bertha Pomeroy. Betty grew up with two brothers, Ronald and Richard. She was described as being popular and pretty, with an innocence about her. Betty fell in love with her math teacher in college, and then, much to the surprise of her friends and family, announced she would marry Allan Gore in January 1970. Soon after, the couple moved to Wiley, Texas and bought a home in the suburban Dallas community.

Allan took a job with Rockwell International, an electronics conglomerate and major defense contractor. In 1976, the couple welcomed their first child, Alisa and Betty started working as a fifth-grade teacher at R.C. Dodd Middle School.

The couple attended church every Sunday at The Methodist Church of Lucas and seemed to have the perfect life. But behind closed doors, some believe that Betty was suffering from postpartum depression. The couple grew distant and their sex life was pretty much nonexistent. To make matters worse, Allan’s job required him to travel, leaving Betty to care for Alisa on her own.

Allan said she was growing more and more negative, and this was putting stress on their marriage.

In 1978, Betty told Allan she wanted to have another baby. Betty wanted to have the baby in the summer when she was off work, so the race to conceive began. Having to perform on certain days and times was stressful for Allan especially because he was having an affair. Fortunately, Betty got pregnant and in July 1979, Bethany Gore was born.

Just short of a year after Bethany was born, 30-year-old Betty Gore was murdered by her friend, Candy Montgomery.

How did Candy Montgomery Meet Betty and Allan Gore?

Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore met through the church and became fast friends. Their daughters grew up together and often spent time at one another’s homes. This friendship may have seemed odd to some, as Candy was active, outgoing, and social, while Betty was cautious, private, and reserved.

Candy was a member of the church volleyball team; Betty wasn’t, but her husband, Allan, was.  

The Affair: How did it Begin?

In 1978, Candy realized she had grown bored in her marriage. She began hinting to friends that her sex life was less than satisfying and that she had been thinking about having an affair. Candy wanted excitement in her life and fireworks in the bedroom. She was 29 and not getting any younger. If she was going to do this, now was the time.  

While playing volleyball one evening, Candy and Betty’s husband, Allan, bumped into each other on the court. It was just a simple bump, but it was in that moment that she realized he smelled sexy, and she liked it. Candy wondered if this could be the man that would “light her fire”? In the days after the bump, she couldn’t stop thinking about Allan, replaying the times he had teased, winked at, and lingered in the parking lot to chat with her longer than the others. She wondered if this attraction could be mutual. One night, after choir practice, she told Allan she needed to talk to him. She said she had been thinking about something and needed to share it  — she was attracted to him

A week or so later, Allan saw Candy at a church volleyball game, and they walked out to the parking lot together. When they reached her car, Allan couldn’t help but ask Candy what she had in mind and she asked, “Would you be interested in having an affair?” Allan was shocked at first. He said he probably couldn’t hurt Betty like that, especially not at that time because she was pregnant.

Candy said that she wouldn’t want to hurt Pat or Betty but neither of them completely shut down the idea.

Ultimately, after much thought, many discussions, a lot of planning, and a list of rules written by Candy, the two agreed to begin their affair at the Continental Motel on December 12, 1978. Later, they would meet at the Como Motel across the street. 

Cheat by the rules.

  • If either one of them ever wanted to end the affair, for whatever reason, it would end. No questions asked.
  • If either one became too emotionally involved, the affair would end.
  • If they ever started taking risks that shouldn’t be taken, the affair would end.
  • All expenses, food, motel room, gasoline, would be shared equally.
  • They would meet only on weekdays, while their spouses were at work.
  • Candy would be in charge of fixing lunch on the days they met, so that they could have more time. They figured they would need all of Allan’s two-hour lunch.
  • Candy would be in charge of getting a motel room, for the same reason.
  • They would meet on a Tuesday or a Thursday, once every two weeks. That was because Candy was free only on days when her little boy attended the Play Day 
  • Preschool at Allan Methodist Church. She took him each Tuesday and Thursday, from nine to two, but she figured that she would need three out of four of those school days for all the other errands and church and school duties in her hectic schedule.
The well-planned affair was good for a while, but for Allan, the excitement waned as his guilt grew. For Candy, making lunch and reserving the hotel room was beginning to feel like a chore. The pair had talked several times about calling it quits, but neither seemed to want to let go. Finally, in the spring of 1980, after Allan and Betty reconnected at a Marriage Encounter — Allan told Candy he didn’t want to see her anymore.

Candy often said that she didn’t know if she could go on without him, but this time she told him she decided she wouldn’t call, try to see him, or bother him anymore.

The Day of the Murder – June 13, 1980 

Candy had a lot going on the morning of June 13, 1980. She had to be at the church for vacation bible school in the morning, and then she planned to run several errands, including buying Father’s Day cards. Later that night, Candy planned to take her daughter, Jenny, and Betty’s daughter, Alisa, to see “The Empire Strikes Back.” The girls asked if they could have a sleepover afterward, meaning Candy would have to take Alisa to a swimming lesson the next morning. Alisa didn’t have her suit, so Candy made plans to stop at Betty’s house to pick it up.

According to the 1980 courtroom testimony, Candy arrived at Betty’s and asked if Alisa could go with them to the movie and stay overnight. Candy said she would take Alisa to her swimming lesson the next morning. Betty agreed, and the pair made small talk for a few minutes before Betty asked Candy if she was having an affair with  Allan. Candy said she had, but it was “a long time ago.”
Betty walked into the utility room of her home and returned with a three-foot ax in her hand. Candy said she would leave, and Betty put the ax down. Candy placed her hand on her friend’s arm and said, “I am so sorry.”

Betty grabbed the ax and started yelling, “You can’t have him, you can’t have him. I’ve got to kill you!” while pushing her into the laundry room. The two women struggled for the ax, and Betty hit Candy with a glancing blow on the side of the head. As blood began to roll down her face, Candy grabbed the ax and swung it in self-defense, hitting Betty on the back of her head.

Candy Montgomery testified during the trial, saying, “I didn’t think. I raised it (ax) and I hit her, and I hit her, and I hit her and I hit her.”

Candy delivered 41 one brutal blows to Betty’s body that day. According to the medical examiner, 40 of those blows were delivered while Betty’s heart was still beating. Candy attempted to tidy herself and the scene, but there was too much blood. She left Betty mutilated and lifeless on the floor and baby Bethany asleep in her crib.    

Thirteen days later, Candy turned herself into the police on June 26, 1980.  She was arrested, charged with murder, held on a 100,000 bond, and ultimately acquitted in a highly publicized trial.

Why was Candy Found NOT Guilty?

Candy’s lawyer, Don Crowder, convinced the jury that Betty attacked Candy first, wounding her foot, and that Candy attacked Betty in self-defense. He also arranged for Dr. Fred Fason, an experienced psychiatrist, and hypnotist, to hypnotize Candy before the jury. The nine-member jury observed the session, and after three hours, Candy said, “I hit her. I hit her. I hit her.” In the end, Dr. Fred testified that Candy had unresolved childhood psychological issues triggered during her encounter with Betty. 

The jury deliberated for three hours and found Candy Montgomery not guilty. The verdict was not well received by the community. Crowds of people waited outside to protest the verdict. When Candy was acquitted and exited the courthouse, they chanted, “Murderer! Murderer!” Betty’s father, Bob Pomeroy, said,As far as I’m concerned, justice will be served. She (Candy) 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. We know what Betty was and we are proud of her.” 

Note: Although hypnosis is controversial, under the right circumstances and when performed by a qualified and specially trained psychiatrist, it is still admissible in court today. 

Where is Candy Montgomery today?

Some say 73-year-old Candy Montgomery has been living in Georgia under an assumed name. Even with the release of two recent high-profile documentaries that have brought new attention and sparked tremendous interest in her case, Candy has remained silent.

The perplexing case of Candy Montgomery delves into profound questions about love, betrayal, and the human capacity for violence. It serves as a stark reminder that even seemingly ordinary individuals can commit unfathomable acts.

Candy Montgomery: Books

Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs,  written by Dallas-based journalists John Bloom and Jim Atkinson, this book examines the case and events following the trial.

Candy Montgomery: Documentaries and Movies 

 A Killing in a Small Town – Television movie – 1990

Candy, Jessica Biel plays Montgomery in Hulu’s original series – May 2022

Love & Death, Elizabeth Olsen plays Candy Montgomery in the Max series – April 2023.

Our 80s Life – Real Candy Montgomery Locations -1980 Love & Death – True Crime Story | Dallas, TX

Love this post? Meet the Author.

Dana Poll, MLIS is the Head of Community at Uncovered and the creator and host of True Crime P.I., an investigative podcast that explores missing and unidentified persons’ cases from the 70s, 80s, & 90s. As a founding member of the Uncovered community, Dana’s goal is to help families who have been “forced to carry the unbearable burden of not knowing.”

Uncovered has built a community for thoughtful true crime discussion, advocacy, and comprehensive cold case research. We are the hub for novice and experienced researchers alike, helping members further develop their citizen detective skills. Sound like something you’re interested in? Join our community. Together, we can make a difference.