There have been many interesting true-crime buzzes about series like The Staircase, Under the Banner of Heaven, and Our Father, but Candy still shines. The miniseries is about the murder of housewife Betty Gore with an axe in the small, conservative Texas town of Wylie in 1980. This is the first time the case has been talked about outside of North Texas. Candy, starring Jessica Biel as Candy Montgomery and Melanie Lynskey as Betty Gore, looks at what happened before and after the murder.
It’s not even the only show about the murder. What are the details of this case that seems to be taking the true-crime world by storm all of a sudden? Most of what is known about the case came from a 1984 two-part article in Texas Monthly. The article talks about both the affair that led to the events and the controversial trial and acquittal. The movies Candy, Love & Death, and A Killing in a Small Town are both based on the same article.
On Friday, June 13, 1980, Betty Gore died at her home in Wylie. She wasn’t found until later that night when her neighbors were told to look for her by her husband, who was in St. Louis on business. Gore was killed early in the morning, so she was left in the house all day with her baby Bethany, who cried so much that she lost her voice. She was hit with an axe 41 times, 40 of which happened while she was still alive, according to the autopsy. She wasn’t even 30.
Did Candy Montgomery kill the wife of the man she was cheating with?
Montgomery and Gore were good friends. They both went to the Methodist Church of Lucas, which is in a town next to Wylie, and their children were about the same age. Candy went to Betty’s house on that fateful day to bring Betty’s oldest daughter a swimsuit. It turned out that she had been having an affair with Betty’s husband from 1978 to 1979, supposedly because they were both sexually unhappy in their marriages. Candy’s version of what happened, as told in the Texas Monthly, is that Betty brought up the affair when Candy went to her house that day. But not everyone believed what was said in court. Gore’s brother, Richard Pomeroy, told Oxygen, “I don’t think any justice was done at all. I think someone was killed.” UPI also told how the acquittal of Montgomery made many people in the courtroom angry.
After 4 months, the 8-day murder trial began in McKinney, Texas. Candy’s lawyer, Don Crowder, is a member of her church. He took her case and said she was not guilty because she had acted in self-defense. He hired a psychiatrist and a clinical hypnotist as experts on the case. These types of experts were still common in the 1980s, but most people don’t trust them as much today. With the help of hypnotism, Montgomery seemed to remember the event. According to the Fort Worth Star-Tribune, the psychiatrist said that the fight caused a “dissociative reaction.” The jury didn’t take long to decide that Candy Montgomery wasn’t responsible for the murder. Candy is based on these events and pretty closely follows the account in Texas Monthly. Of course, some parts of the series have to be changed to fit a 5-hour drama. But even some of the most dramatic parts of the limited series, like Crowder (Ral Esparza) being held in contempt of court during Candy’s trial, aren’t too far from the truth.
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