Historical Accuracy (Q&A):
How did Candy Montgomery meet Betty Gore?
The Candy true story reveals that she and her husband, Pat Montgomery, moved to Wylie, Texas in 1977 and started to regularly attend the First United Methodist Church of Lucas. Candy met local resident and fifth-grade teacher Betty Gore at church, where they both sang in the choir. They became even closer friends due to the fact that their daughters had become best friends.
Were the Montgomerys wealthy?Yes. Pat Montgomery was an electrical engineer who worked for Texas Instruments. He was paid an annual salary of $70,000 (roughly $332,000 in 2022) to work on intricate military radar systems. He met his wife, then Candy Wheeler, at work where she was employed as a secretary. They married in the early 1970s and had two children, a boy and a girl.
Did Candy Montgomery have an affair with Betty Gore's husband?
Yes. In researching how accurate is Candy on Hulu, we learned that the affair between Candy and Betty's husband, Allan, began about a year and a half prior to Betty Gore's murder. Like in the Hulu miniseries, Candy reportedly approached Allan after a church volleyball game in October 1978, telling him that she was attracted to him and suggesting they should have an affair. They agreed that it wouldn't turn into anything more than sex. The 11-month affair was over "six or seven months" prior to Betty Gore's murder. -Snapped
Candy Montgomery (left) is pictured in real life after the murder. Jessica Biel (right) portrays Candy in the Hulu miniseries.
Did Betty Gore and her husband Allan attend a Marriage Encounter weekend to strengthen their marriage?
Yes, the Marriage Encounter program had been recommended to Allan by friends from church. A Candy fact-check confirms that it was after attending with Betty that Allan felt guilty and decided to end his affair with Candy Montgomery, hoping to instead strengthen his bond with his wife. Similar to Jessica Biel's character in the Hulu miniseries, the real Candy wasn't overly upset by Allan's decision, given that she reportedly wasn't thrilled with their subpar sex.
How many times did Candy Montgomery stab Betty Gore?Candy Montgomery struck Betty Gore 41 times with a three-foot long axe. It is believed that 40 of the strikes took place while Betty's heart was still beating (Texas Monthly). Betty was struck 28 times in the head alone. When neighbors discovered Betty Gore's body, they initially thought she had died from a gunshot wound given the condition of her head. Investigators found axe wounds on her face, head, hands, arms, torso and legs. Her blood-covered body was discovered in the utility room inside of her home. Detectives described the scene as looking like something out of a horror movie.
Betty Gore's dead body was discovered in the utility room of her home.
Did Candy Montgomery kill Betty Gore on Friday the 13th?
Yes. Strangely enough, the axe murder happened on Friday, June 13, 1980, just over a month after the horror movie Friday the 13th was released in theaters. Investigators also found a newspaper in Betty Gore's home opened to an ad for the new film The Shining, the 1980 Jack Nicholson psychological horror movie that features a crazed husband chasing his wife with an axe.
Did Candy Montgomery continue to strike Betty Gore with the axe after she was dead?Yes. In researching the Hulu Candy true story, we learned that at least one of the blows to Betty Gore's body came after she was deceased, arguably more. In the least, Betty would have been long-incapacitated before the 40th axe blow. The amount of overkill indicated that the axe murderer was in a state of rage and that it was likely a crime of passion. This is one reason why detectives initially suspected that Betty Gore's husband Allan might be responsible.
It appeared as if Candy started to try to clean up the blood inside Betty Gore's home, but then decided there was too much and gave up.
Was Betty Gore's husband, Allan, really away on a business trip at the time of her murder?
Yes. Like in the Candy Hulu miniseries, Allan became concerned on the night of June 13 when he tried calling Betty and could not get a hold of her. Knowing she was also home with their baby daughter, Bethany, he phoned neighbors and asked them to check on his wife. He also called Candy Montgomery, Betty's friend and the woman with whom he had an affair, to see if she knew of Betty's whereabouts. Candy said that she had stopped over earlier in the day to pick up a swimsuit for Betty and Allan's oldest daughter and that nothing was out of the ordinary.
Were Betty Gore's children home at the time of her murder?Betty Gore's daughter, Bethany, was asleep in her crib at the time of the murder. When neighbors forced their way into the Gore home and discovered Betty's body, young Bethany was awake and crying in her crib.
The real Betty Gore is pictured on the left and actor Melanie Lynskey is shown as Gore in the Hulu miniseries.
Did Candy leave behind a thumbprint?
Yes. In comparing the Candy fact vs. fiction, we confirmed that a bloody thumbprint was found on the freezer door. Investigators also discovered a bloody footprint made by a flip-flop in the laundry room. In addition, blood and hair were found in the shower, indicating that the killer had tried to wash the blood off.
Why did Candy Montgomery kill Betty Gore?
Candy, 30, claimed that she had left the church to go over to Betty's house to pick up a bathing suit for Betty's older daughter because the girls were having a sleepover at the Montgomerys' home that night. She said that Betty, 30, confronted her with regard to the extramarital affair that she had with Betty's husband, Allan. Candy said she admitted to the affair and told Betty that it had been over for some time (technically six or seven months).
Candy said that Betty then tried to attack her with an axe she retrieved from the garage, swinging down to the floor and striking Candy's toe (pictured below). They wrestled for control of the weapon, which Candy was eventually able to get a hold of. Candy also sustained bruises to her head during the struggle. She claimed that she struck Betty with the axe in self-defense.
Candy Montgomery claimed that Betty Gore swung the axe at her, striking her toe. A cut is visible in this evidence photo.
Was Candy Montgomery found guilty?The defense team argued that Candy Montgomery's alleged murder of Betty Gore was an act of self-defense, which is what Candy had tried to claim. At first, it seemed that this was a weak argument given the severity of Betty Gore's injuries and the fact that Candy had struck her with the axe 41 times, continuing even after she was dead. However, the defense brought in a psychiatrist from Houston who had evaluated Candy, including putting her under hypnosis. The psychiatrist testified that Candy had experienced what is called a disassociative event, suggesting that the altercation with Betty triggered a psychological reaction in her and she became unaware of what she was doing, essentially losing herself in a blind rage.
The psychiatrist explained that Candy had been struck with a sharp instrument when she was a child, which left her bleeding badly. As she cried out, her mother shook her and then raised her finger to her lips and said, "Shhhhhh." Candy claimed that Betty made the same gesture and sound during their altercation, which is what the psychiatrist explained had caused Candy to snap. Candy supposedly had a disassociative reaction in which she entered into a non-lucid state of rage as she struck Betty with the axe.
The Candy true story confirms that the jury deliberated for four-and-a-half hours and came back with a verdict of "not guilty." To the shock and outrage of much of the public, Candy Montgomery was acquitted of Betty Gore's murder and was again a free woman. -Snapped
Candy Montgomery (left) is shown during her trial. Jessica Biel (right) portrays the acquitted killer in the miniseries.
Have any other movies or TV series been made about Candy Montgomery?Yes. In addition to the 2023 HBO Max miniseries Love and Death starring Elizabeth Olsen as Candy Montgomery, there was a 1990 CBS TV movie titled A Killing in a Small Town in which Barbara Hershey portrayed Candy. The character was given the fictional last name "Morrison".
Where is Candy Montgomery today?
While conducting our fact-check, we learned that Candy and Pat Montgomery moved to Georgia but later divorced. As of the writing of this article, Candy is still alive and now goes by the last name "Wheeler". Ironically, she has worked with her daughter Jenny as a mental health therapist, counseling teens and adults who suffer from depression. Currently 72, Candy has had no further run-ins with law enforcement.
Not long after the trial, Betty's widow and Candy's former lover, Allan Gore, left the state of Texas and remarried. He lost custody of his children to Betty's parents. He has since divorced and is living in Sarasota, Florida with a girlfriend. He has reportedly reconnected with his children.