Betty Gore’s story — The brutal ax killing that rattled the quaint town of Wylie, Texas

By Sonam Peldon — ON May 12, 2022
Betty Gore
Betty Gore

The 1980 killing of Betty Gore in Wylie, Texas by a fellow suburban friend and neighbor, Candy Montgomery, is experiencing a resurgence in interest forty years after it all went down. With the story being recently retold on Hulu’s ‘Candy’, there is little surprise as to why the case is being remembered.

The brutal incident is notorious for the number of chop wounds inflicted on the victim: a total of 41 ax blows. Though forensic experts have later found that most of the blows occurred after Betty had died, the unusually extreme act committed by Candy became a prolific murder case in the country.

Key Takeaways

  • Betty Gore and Candy Montgomery were friends who met at the church and lived near each other in Wylie, Collin County.
  • Betty’s husband Allan and Candy began an extramarital affair while Betty was pregnant with her second child.
  • The neighbors discovered Betty’s murdered body on the night of June 13, 1980.
  • Candy was arrested and charged with Betty’s murder after the affair came to light during the investigation.
  • At the trial, Candy confessed to killing Betty in self-defense after the latter had confronted and attacked her about the affair.

Betty Gore met Candy Montgomery at the Methodist Church of Lucas in Collin County, Texas

Betty Gore was born in the 1950s to Charles Robert “Bob” Pomeroy and Bertha Larean Pomeroy. She grew up in Norwich, Kansas, and had two brothers, Richard and Ronnie.

In January 1970, she married Allan Gore, who was her math teacher in college. The couple settled in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, and gave birth to their first daughter, Alisa, after four years of marriage.

Betty, Allan Gore and their first daughter, Alisa
Betty, Allan Gore and their first daughter, Alisa

In 1976, Betty worked as a teacher at R.C. Dodd Middle School in Wylie, Collin County, teaching fifth-graders while Allan worked at an electronics and defense firm, Rockwell International. Nothing was out of the ordinary for the suburban family.

Betty met Candace ‘Candy’ Montgomery at the Methodist Church of Lucas and struck up a friendship that would eventually cost her life. The pair grew close and so did their families with their children spending time together. As per Texas Monthly, the Montgomery family, Candy, Pat and their two children (a son and a daughter) had moved to the area in 1977.

Allan Gore and Candy Montgomery began an extramarital affair in 1978 while Betty was pregnant

Candy’s dissatisfaction with her stale marriage led her to initiate an extramarital affair with her friend’s husband, Allan Gore. While Betty was pregnant with the couple’s second child in the late summer of 1978, Candy and Allan began to form an attraction.

In search of a thrilling adventure, Candy made a proposition to Allan. Despite Allan’s initial hesitancy at being unfaithful to his wife, he gave in to the idea within a few months. Hence, shortly after Candy’s 29th birthday, the pair began discreetly seeing each other.

As their affair gained traction, they became sexually active on December 12, 1978, at the Continental Inn located in Richardson. According to Texas Monthly, they made weekly visits to the Como Motel nearby to continue their relationship.

Candy Montgomery
Candy Montgomery

In mid-June of 1979, Candy even threw a surprise baby shower for Betty whilst secretly seeing her husband. After Betty gave birth to her daughter, Bethany Gore, in early July, she and Allan began to work on their marriage. They attended a counseling weekend in Dallas known as the Methodist Marriage Encounter which somehow improved their relationship.

Wanting to focus on mending their respective marriages, Candy and Allan ended their one-year affair in November 1979. It is known that Allan initiated the breakup.

On the night of June 13, 1980, Betty Gore’s lifeless body was discovered by the neighbors in her home

On the fateful day of June 13, 1980, Allan was away on a business trip to Saint Paul, Minnesota. Betty, who would usually fret every time he was away, did not respond to his calls.

Unable to reach her any other way, a worried Allan asked his next-door neighbor, Richard Parker, to check on his wife.

Allan also called on his neighbor down the block, Jerry McMahan, to look into the house. At this point, the seriousness of the situation compelled another neighbor, Lester Gaylor, to accompany McMahan. The three men were surprised to find the front door unlocked and entered the home.

The hoarse cries of an infant Bethany, who was barely a year old, rang through the house. Parker picked her up from the crib and went to call the police.

Gaylor and McMahan searched the house and found the lifeless body of Betty in the utility room.

Betty Gore
Betty Gore

“I went in first. We went down the hall to the bathroom, turning on the lights. A little old baby raised its head up out of the crib, out of the baby bed. It began to cry. It’d been there all, nearly all day, hadn’t been fed or nothing. I opened the door and it was a bloody mess,” Gaylor recounted the incident to The Dallas Morning News.

Candy Montgomery was named a suspect after the affair came to light and was arrested and charged with murder

At a first glance, due to the mangled remains of her head, the neighbors presumed that Betty had been shot or that perhaps she had shot herself.

Allan was informed that his wife had committed suicide. However, the police inspection later confirmed that Betty’s death was caused by another weapon: an ax. She had repeatedly been hit with a three-foot-long ax all over her body and an overwhelming number of 41 chop wounds were detected.

The police found further evidence of the culprit in the form of a bloody footprint and fingerprints at the crime scene. After Allan disclosed his adulterous past to the investigation team, the police found a possible motive for Betty’s murder and named Candy Montgomery a suspect in the crime.

Although Candy was arrested and charged with the murder of Betty Gore, she was released on a $100,000 bond. The community and the church believed the police to have made a mistake and showed their support to the Montgomery family despite the media’s release of evidence.

Though Candy had destroyed and discarded her rubber sandals from the crime scene, she left strands of hair in Gore’s bathroom, where she had taken a shower after killing Betty. With the mounting pile of evidence against her, Candy was represented by Don Crowder, a small law firm partner she knew from church, reported Texas Monthly.

Candy Montgomery
Candy Montgomery

This high-profile case was Crowder’s first murder case and he presented the self-defense plea for Candy Montgomery.

During the eight-day trial, Candy confessed to killing Betty Gore in self-defense

Defense attorney Crowder alleged that Candy could not recollect the incident of the killing because of a “dissociative reaction” caused by trauma. She had to undergo hypnosis conducted by Dr. Fred Fason, a Houston-based psychiatrist, to extract her memory.

Under hypnosis, Candy admitted to hating Betty for ruining her life.

“I hate her. She’s messed up my whole life. Look at this. I hate her. I hate her. I won’t let her hit me again. I don’t want him. She can’t do this to me,” said Candy, as reported by Texas Monthly.

The three long sessions with Dr. Fason also uncovered her childhood trauma and its associated deep-seated rage that surfaced during her last moments with Betty.

At the trial, Candy confessed to the crime and said that she had no intention of murdering Betty at all. On the morning of June 13, she visited Betty to get Alisa’s swimsuit as her children and Alisa were going to spend the day together.

Betty asked Candy about the affair and in a confrontation gone wrong, attacked Candy with the ax. Candy sustained injuries: an open cut at the hairline on the right side of her forehead and a deep gash on her left foot’s third toe. She later gained control of the ax and hit Betty in self-defense.

“I hit her. I hit her. I hit her. I stood back and looked at myself and I was covered in blood. I felt so guilty, so dirty. I felt so ashamed,” Candy said in her testimony, The Dallas Morning News wrote.

In a controversial verdict by the jury, Candy Montgomery was acquitted of all charges

The defense justified that Candy’s 41 ax blows on Betty occurred as a result of a rage induced by her childhood trauma. It was claimed that something Betty had said during the encounter triggered Candy’s rage. She also went through a polygraph exam to solidly her statement as the truth.

“We determined it never had a bearing on the verdict at all – whether it was one gunshot or 1,000 whacks. Adultery was no factor either. A lot of those people in the courtroom think she should have been convicted on a morals charge. But this woman wasn’t on trial for adultery,” said Juror Alice Doherty Rowley to The Dallas Morning News.

On the other hand, prosecutor Tom O’Connell argued that Candy had many chances to flee the house instead of axing Betty more than forty times, a number more than necessary to defend herself. He further talked about Candy’s abandonment of Betty’s infant daughter at the home and her subsequent lies after the murder to her friends and Allan.

However, the prosecutor’s arguments fell weak in comparison to the defense as they could not deny that the murder weapon was procured by the victim herself.

verdict of not guilty to Candy Montgomery

The eight-day trial came to an end on October 30, 1980. After three hours’ worth of deliberation, the nine women and three men jury gave their verdict of not guilty to Candy Montgomery. When District Judge Tom Ryan read out the verdict, it was immediately met with criticism from citizens who shouted ‘murderer’ at Candy as she left the courtroom.

Candy left Texas after the trial and settled in Georgia under her maiden name Candace Wheeler

Crowder, who faced four days in prison for being cited twice for contempt of court during the trial, said that they were very pleased with the judgment and “proud that the jury had enough courage to stand up”.

Bob Pomeroy, Betty’s father, talked about the seemingly unfair judgment to United Press International:

“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,” he said.

Candy Montgomery has since left Texas and settled in Georgia where she lives to this day as Candace Wheeler, under her maiden name.

Read Next: Amber Hagerman’s story — The tragic inspiration behind the AMBER Alert Initiative