Breaking News
More () »

The story behind Candy Montgomery and the 1980 ax killing, now on two TV shows

The killing of Betty Gore shocked a small North Texas town, and will be brought to life in two true-crime series: Hulu's "Candy" and HBO Max's "Love and Death."

DALLAS — It was a brutal ax killing that shocked the small North Texas town of Wylie in 1980. 

Candy Montgomery killed Betty Gore by slicing her with an ax 41 times, following a confrontation about Montgomery's months-long affair with Gore's husband, according to Texas Monthly's reporting of Montgomery's trial.

Now, 42 years later, two new true-crime series – Hulu’s Candy starring Jessica Biel and HBO Max’s Love and Death starring Elizabeth Olsen – are bringing the case back to life.

Candy aired during a five-night Hulu event from May 9 to May 13. Love and Death premieres April 27 on HBO Max.

Each series takes a look back at the harrowing tale of the two churchgoing couples enjoying small-town family life, until that fateful Friday the 13th of June 1980.

Here is a look at the true crime story behind Candy and Love and Death.

The Affair

Candy Montgomery was married to Pat Montgomery, a young electrical engineer at Texas Instruments, and mother of two children. Betty Gore was a middle school teacher married to Allan Gore. 

Both the Montgomerys and Gores regularly attended service at the First United Methodist Church of Lucas, according to Texas Monthly's 1984 profile. This is what brought Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore together and ultimately led to the affair and murder.

According to Texas Monthly, the affair between Candy Montgomery and Allan Gore began after the two collided on a play on the church volleyball court, which set Candy's sights on Allan. She pursued Allan Gore for months before he finally agreed to begin an affair. The affair continued until Allan Gore ended it to focus his attention on Betty, who had grown more anxious about their relationship, and their family, the Texas magazine reported.

The Crime and Trial

Then, on Friday the 13th of June 1980, the Gore's Wylie house became the site of one of Texas' most notorious crimes. 

Betty Gore confronted Candy Montgomery about the affair, which led to a struggle with an ax. Candy Montgomery prevailed in the struggle, then reportedly assaulted Betty Gore 41 times, killing her. 

Candy Montgomery was eventually arrested and charged with the murder of Betty Gore. In court, Candy Montgomery pleaded that she killed Gore out of self-defense arguing that “after being struck twice with the ax by [Betty] and then gaining control of the weapon, the heavier and larger [Betty] refused to let [Candy] go.” 

The prosecution, meanwhile, argued that Candy could have fled “rather than bludgeon” Betty Gore to death.

On Oct. 30, 1980, a jury of nine women and three men found Candy Montgomery not guilty of Betty Gore’s murder. She was acquitted of the murder charge.

Killing still haunts some homeowners in North Texas

Twenty-eight years after Gore was killed, WFAA went back to Wylie and spoke with several residents about their recall of the harrowing tale. People in Wylie still talk about that house.

Who would live in such a house?

After the yellow police tape comes down at a crime scene, new residents bring new furniture, new belongings and new lives. But in many cases, the house continues to be defined by what once happened within its walls. The question then is: How do you turn the home of a high-profile killing into a home?

You can read more about the so-called "ax murder house" here.

The Series

Candy was created by Nick Antosca and Robin Veith with Jessica Biel as Candy, Melanie Lynskey as Betty Gore, Pablo Schreiber as Allan Gore and Timothy Simons as Pat Montgomery.

Writers Jim Atkinson and John Bloom, who wrote the two Texas Monthly articles (read Part 1 here, read Part 2 here), serve as consulting producers on Candy. Their book, Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs, is being adapted by David E. Kelley for Love and Death

The upcoming HBO Max series stars Olsen as Candy, Jesse Plemons as Allan Gore, Patrick Fugit as Pat Montgomery and Lily Rabe as Betty Gore.


Before You Leave, Check This Out