Jessica Biel is exploring her dark side in her latest TV series, Candy. Her portrayal of Texas housewife Candy Montgomery, who brutally killed her friend Betty Gore with an axe in the summer of 1980, has viewers shocked, and many are asking if the events of the miniseries are based on real-life events. The answer, chillingly, is yes.
Candy Montgomery and Allan Gore began their extramarital affair with one another shortly after meeting through their United Methodist church. The pair began flirting with each other over the course of choir practices and volleyball matches until Candy asked Allan point-blank if he would have an affair with her.
Allan shied away initially. He still had feelings for his wife Betty, and Candy was married herself to Pat Montgomery, his fellow church member. But Allan had felt dissatisfied with his and Betty’s sex life for some time, and he quickly found himself contacting Candy in search of the sexual passion he craved.
According to The Dallas Morning News, the two set up a set of rules for themselves initially. Firstly, the affair was to be purely about sex. Either would end it iff they began to develop real feelings for the other. The two would meet every other week at a local motel, with Candy bringing lunch and Allan paying dutch for the costs of lunch and their room.
According to Texas Monthly, neither kept up their part of the bargain, Candy confessed to Allan that she was falling for him and Allan wanted to carry on their sexual relations. After attending a weekend-long marriage counseling session at their church with Betty, shortly after the birth of his second daughter, Allan guiltily broke off the affair.
For a few months, it looked like the pair had gotten away with their indescretions until Allan went on a business trip on June 13, 1980. When Betty didn’t answer the phone, Allan rang Candy to ask if she had heard from her. Candy explained she had seen her that day to pick up a swimsuit and assured him she was fine. When Betty still would not answer he asked neighbors to check on her. They discovered the couple’s daughter alive in her crib and Betty’s body in the utility room. It was in such a state that the neighbors initially believed she had been shot.
Texas Monthly reported later that, according to Candy’s own testimony, Betty had confronted her about the affair when she arrived to pick up the swimsuit. While she denied it at first, she finally confessed. She said Betty then walked into her garage and returned with an axe. Candy stated that she apologized but that this only angered Betty, who she says replied by saying, “I’ve got to kill you.”
After stating that she fended off an attack from Betty, Candy claims that she was forced to defend herself by turning the axe against her. According to The Daily Mail, Candy delivered 41 blows to Betty with the weapon.
Authorities were granted an arrest warrant for Candy based on the finger and footprint evidence found at the crime scene. Investigators turned up additional physical evidence, including bruises and cuts on Candy’s body while she was being searched after she was booked into custody.
Montgomery’s legal team pursued a vigorous defense that claimed she had acted in self-defense in a state of “dissociative reaction,” according to E! Online. Defense attorney Don Crowder and Houston psychiatrist Dr. Fred Fason claimed that Montgomery had gone into a psychotic rage when attacked and that, due to childhood trauma, she “felt she had to fight back after being silenced her whole life.”
The defense’s strategy was successful, and Candy was found not guilty of the murder, much to the outrage of the community, many of whom gathered on the courthouse steps and screamed “murderer” at her when she was released. According to The Dallas Morning News, the jurors felt that the prosecution had not made its case. One juror told the publication that the brutal nature of the death was not considered at all, stating, “We determined it never had a bearing on the verdict at all—whether it was one gunshot or 1,000 whacks.”
Candy and her husband Pat remained married and moved to Georgia following the trial, According to The Daily Mail. The couple would later divorce, and Candy would become a mental health therapist for teens and adults under her maiden name of Wheeler.
Candy is currently streaming on Hulu. Another adaptation of the story, Love and Death, starring Elizabeth Olsen, will air on HBO Max sometime later this year.