Lucas, TX

Housewife's Self-Defense Argument Leads To Acquittal

Author Ed Anderson
Candy Montgomery After Her AcquittalDallas Morning News

Many stay-at-home moms are busy. They take care of the children, do laundry and keep the house, as well as cook dinner for the family. There is minimal downtime for them to do anything for themselves.

During the summer months, the time constraint becomes even tighter. The kids are at home and need to be taken to their various activities. It can be overwhelming.

Candy Montgomery was no ordinary homemaker, however. While she has been called “a bored housewife,” that misses the point of who she was. Montgomery was an ambitious woman; she knew what she wanted and would do anything to make sure she got it.

And what she wanted was a rich husband—a wealthy, handsome hubby.

When You Marry A Diva

Growing up, Montgomery was used to getting what she wanted. People had trouble telling the precocious little girl no. This would train her never to take no for an answer as an adult. It would shape the way she viewed things and how people should respond to her.

Before she finished high school, she moved out of her parents’ house. Her goal was still to be a wife and mother, but she didn’t want to deal with the rules that were being put on her. While she completed school, she worked to pay her rent and buy groceries.

Every man she dated was looked at as a potential husband. None of them quite measured up to what she wanted, in any case. Her husband needed to be wealthy, and the guys she went out with weren’t there.

Pat Montgomery wasn’t there either, but he was on his way. He was an executive with Texas Instrument. When he proposed, Montgomery accepted with a sigh. Dollar signs were in her eyes, and she could smell a better life for herself and her future children.

Since Pat wasn’t well-off yet, they had a small ceremony. Then had a relatively inexpensive honeymoon. They bought a small house in Lucas, Texas, near the Texas Instrument offices when they returned. Their two children were born, a son and a daughter, shortly after.

Friends And Lovers

By 1979 the Montgomerys were settled into their lives in Lucas. They were friends with Allan and Betty Gore. The foursome went to the same church, and their daughters were besties.

Like Pat, Allan was not particularly attractive, but he was more extroverted than the other man. Montgomery was bored and decided that she wanted to have an affair. After going through a list of men in her mind, she settled on having one with her family friend.

Allan was unhappy in his marriage. He and Betty had a dead bedroom, mostly because she was suffering from postpartum depression. The doctors had assured the Gores that it wouldn’t last forever, but Betty seemed more and more despondent over time. She started the conversation about having an affair by admitting that she was attracted to him.

When Montgomery mentioned an affair, it excited Allan in a way that hadn’t happened in a while. The pair agreed to some rules before they started sleeping together. This was a no-strings-attached thing, neither would pressure the other to divorce their spouse, and it was to be kept secret. He quickly agreed.

They found a hotel where no one would know them, and they wouldn’t be seen. It quickly grew into a weekly occurrence. Candy was no longer bored, and Allan was thrilled to keep her company.

It went well for a few months; then Candy decided the affair should come to an end. Allan reluctantly agreed.

One Last Night

After the end of Allan and Montgomery’s affair, she decided to continue looking for another man even as the world saw her and Pat as the perfect couple.

The Montgomerys planned on going to see Star Wars at a local drive-in. Alisa Gore wanted to go with them but needed permission from her parents. She called her house, but nobody answered the phone.

Allan was on his way out of town, much to Betty’s chagrin. The couple had fought about it, but in the end, it was a business trip he couldn’t get out of.

“Good friend,” Candy went over to the Gores’ house. Her mission was to obtain permission for Alisa to stay the night with them. Instead, Betty was waiting for her.

Candy Montgomery was the last person to see Betty Gore alive.

A Grisly Discovery

Allan Gore tried calling his wife when he landed. He wanted to make up with her and confirm he was safe. When she didn’t answer, he didn’t think much about it. He assumed she had taken a nap while the baby was sleeping. After a meeting, he tried again, and she didn’t answer. This time it alarmed him.

He asked a couple of neighbors to check on his wife and children. They did but said nothing was out of the ordinary. A few other people that Allan called had said Betty hadn’t been around vacation bible school, but that was not unusual, it was a hot June day, and she had a baby.

Then he called his former lover. As they talked, she told him Alisa would be staying the night. He signed off on that but admitted to being worried about his wife. Candy assured him that when she saw Betty that morning, everything was fine.

Once again, Allan called his neighbors and asked them to check on his family. They agreed. This time they tried the front door; it was unlocked. With the door open, they crept through the house. They heard the baby whimpering. She was dehydrated and in a soiled diaper.

The men then found Betty. She was dead. And it was apparent that she had been murdered.

A Mystery Begins

The men took the baby over to their wives and called the police. Then they made the call each of them dreaded, informing Allan of his wife’s death. It was not a pleasant conversation.

In 1980, there were not many crimes, let alone murders, in Lucas. The police who arrived on the scene were shocked. It was not a scene they had expected, even with the details given to them by the callers.

Their first instinct was to blame a transient. It would be the simplest way to get the case closed and let the town move on. However, none of the neighborhood women had seen a stranger around. And while Betty was not exactly popular, most people had a fondness for her.

Allan was called in for questioning. Investigators found his composure to be unnerving, especially as someone who had just lost his wife. Still, they couldn’t find a motive for killing her, and he had a viable alibi.

That is until they talked to Candy Montgomery. She confessed to having an affair with Allan. Something he had conveniently left out of his testimony. Despite having an alibi, they began to zero in on him as the killer.

But there was a sandal sprint from the killer. And the person had taken a shower right after the murder. After the second round of questioning, Allan confirmed his affair with Montgomery.

Police had a new suspect.

A Shocking Trial

Cementing their suspicion was the fact that Montgomery secured a defense attorney before agreeing to a second interrogation. Don Crowder was a fellow member of the church and made it his mission to clear his new client.

Candy Montgomery was arrested and charged with the murder of Betty Gore. The residents of Lucas were shocked.

Pat stood by his wife’s side. The revelation of her affair did not diminish his love for her. They were going to fight the charges against her together, despite growing evidence.

The trial seemed to be slanted towards the prosecution from the get-go. Crowder broke every rule of defense. It seemed as though Montgomery would soon be heading to prison for the rest of her life.

Then she took the stand in her own defense and delivered a jaw-dropper of a confession. On the stand, she testified that she had gone over to the Gores’ house. When Betty answered the door, she confronted Montgomery about the affair she had with Allan.

The women got into a huge fight about it. Montgomery tried to assure her friend that the affair was over, and she wasn’t interested in Allan any longer. Betty did not believe her and picked up an ax. The women struggled over it.

When she got the ax, Montgomery hit Betty 41 times with it. After she realized what she had done, she took a shower with all of her clothes on. After she got home, she put the bloody clothes in the washer.

Many considered this to be the final nail in her coffin.

What Happened Next

Candy Montgomery was acquitted of the murder with her self-defense argument. The jury’s decision shocked everyone. No one believed that Betty would have attacked the other woman. And the fact that she hadn’t confronted her husband about the affair cast doubt on the story.

“Murderer!” Some shouted as Candace and Pat left the courthouse. The couple hoped to put the whole ordeal behind them. Eventually, they sold their house and moved to East Georgia.

Eventually, their marriage fell apart, and they divorced. After the divorce, Candy returned to using her maiden name, Wheeler. She became a mental health therapist, along with her daughter.

Allan remarried shortly after the death of Betty. He lost custody of his daughters to Betty’s family, and they cut ties with him until very recently. They have begun to rebuild a bond with their dad.

Crowder committed suicide in 1999.

Over time the murder of Betty Gore has faded from the memory of Lucas, Texas residents. But that will soon change with a new limited series starring Elizabeth Moss as Montgomery being produced.

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Ed Anderson is a true crime and gossip writer from Detroit, Michigan. Ed is the author of several true crime books, most recently Cold Cases From Around The World.

Rochester, MI

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