The Real Story of What Happened to Betty Gore

Everyone’s been watching Candy and HBO is working on a docuseries about the case of Betty Gore as well. But if you’re anything like me, after you watch one of these “dramatized” docuseries, you wonder which parts are actually true. So that’s what I’m going to tell you today, what we actually know about the death of Betty Gore. There are certain differences between the real case and how things were portrayed in “Candy,” so I will point some of those out here and there, but I’m not going to say too much about “Candy” and my opinions on it because we’re actually going to do a breakdown of our thoughts on it over on Patreon, so definitely head over there for that.

Betty Gore was born Betty Eileen Pomeroy to Charles Robert Pomeroy and Bertha Larean Hancock on January 9, 1950. She was one of three kids and grew up in Norwich, Kansas. They were your average working class family with Betty’s father, Robert “Bob,” selling insurance. Betty was considered one of the most popular girls in the town and everyone was pretty surprised when, in 1970, she married Allan Gore. He was described as shy and plain-looking and if you’re wondering how they met, he was her math teacher in college. Now, I know we hear that and imagine some big age gap, but he was actually only three years older than her. It’s also possible that he wasn’t actually her teacher, but was the TA for her class, it just depends on the source and they’re split pretty evenly on this.

Anywho, they got married and the couple moved to Wylie, Texas where Betty got a job teaching at R.C. Dodd middle school and Allan got a job at Rockwell International. It’s said that after they got married, Betty’s personality changed significantly. Some of these sources said that this mainly happened after they had their first daughter, Alisa. Postpartum depression is something that wasn’t really talked about at the time and there wasn’t much knowledge around it. This meant that when Betty saw her doctor about how she was feeling he would either give her a prescription for Valium or simply send her on her way thinking she would be able to just move past it.

With all of this going on, Betty had become emotionally dependent on Allan. This was another obstacle as his work required him to travel pretty frequently and she was struggling with a fear of abandonment. Despite all of this, she wanted another kid. Since she was a teacher, she wanted the baby to be born during the summer so that she wouldn’t have to take any time off. She went about this by planning their sex life out to a tee and Allan was not satisfied with this and grew increasingly unhappy, and felt like he was just being used. He was worried they would fall victim to boredom and suggested they try a marriage counseling group called “Methodist Marriage Encounter,” but at the time Betty didn’t see the point.

She thought things were eventually improving, but what Betty didn’t know is that in December 1978, his unhappiness had led him to begin an affair with none other than Candace “Candy” Montgomery.

So who is Candy? She grew up as an army brat who moved all over. She was very independent and always knew what she wanted and did whatever it took to get it. She moved out right after high school and got a job, but what she really wanted was to be a full time mom. She dated a bit, but no one was meeting her qualifications. The first and foremost being that he must be wealthy. She eventually met Pat Montgomery, who she felt was introverted and ‘not very handsome,’ but he was on his way to becoming an engineer and that meant money. So she decided to give him a chance and they ended up getting married. They went on to have two kids and by 1979, they were living in Texas and Pat was working at Texas Instruments making good money, so Candy had what she had always wanted.

She was very active in the community and was known by everyone. The Gores and Montgomerys met each other at the First United Methodist Church of Lucas. Both families regularly attended church and the women sang in the choir together. The families became good friends and got to know each other pretty well. Candy was getting bored though and decided that the solution to her boredom was a good old fashioned affair.

Betty Gore

Betty Gore holds her daughter Bethany while Lisa sits next to her in 1979, a year before her death.(Source: Craig Hacker /

How did Candy end up deciding Allan was the best man for this, you ask? Well, they were at a volleyball match and she realized that she thought he “smelled sexy.” They hadn’t known each other for very long, but she started flirting with him at the volleyball matches for a couple of weeks, before sliding into his car and confessing that she was attracted to him. She left just as quickly as she got into the car and Allan thought about it for the next week, feeling somewhat pleased about it. He thought about how Betty was “dour as ever” whereas Candy was “self-confident, easygoing, and warm.” This led to Allan sliding into Candy’s car the next week after volleyball practice to talk about it. This is when she suggested the idea of an affair. I don’t know what exactly he was expecting, but it wasn’t that. He explained to her that Betty had once had an affair with another man and that he had been very hurt by it and didn’t want to make her feel the same way. This surprised Candy, and she admitted that she didn’t want to hurt their marriages either. Allan then kissed her before getting out of the car.

It seemed like maybe they wouldn’t continue with her affair plans, but three weeks later, Allan texted Candy, “Hi, this is Allan. I have to go to McKinney tomorrow to get some tires checked on the new truck I bought up there. I wondered if you’d like to have lunch, you know, to talk a little more about what we talked about before.” She agreed and they met up at a tea shop and discussed the risks of affairs, not wanting to hurt their partners, and went over the whys and why nots. They also talked about what rules would be in place if they did decide to have an affair. After this discussion they hesitated for months, but eventually they did decide to have sex.

After the first time, they quickly realized they both wanted more. They explained the affair as making them “feel alive.” One of their rules was that it was just sex, no feelings and that if one of them started to have feelings it was to be called off. This sounds like a smart precaution, but it’s a lot more difficult in practice. Candy started to fall in love with Allan, but we’re going to put a pin in that and jump back to Betty.

While Allan was having his affair, Betty was still planning out their sex life so that they could have another kid. She got pregnant and was still struggling with her mental health. She had withdrawn a lot and didn’t have many friends, but her friend from church, Candy Montgomery, was always there for her. Candy even threw her a surprise baby shower. Betty had started to notice though that maybe Allan had been right when he suggested they try Marriage Encounter. She didn’t know about the affair, but she had noticed how much he had pulled away and wanted to fix their relationship.
Allan agreed to go and it seemed to be working. He decided he wanted to mend his marriage with Betty and while Candy felt like she was falling in love with him, she realized that the affair wasn’t as thrilling anymore. It had lost its spark and she was growing bored again, so they decided to end it. All of this makes it sound like everyone was moving past what had happened and everyone would be able to move on, but we know that didn’t happen.
A few months later, on Friday June 13, 1980, the day started like any other. Alisa Gore, who was now 5, had spent the night at the Montgomery’s. It was Bible School week for the kids and Alisa came with the Montgomery kids. This was a normal occurrence and no one questioned it because Betty wasn’t around very much and Allan was traveling for work. Alisa decided she wanted to stay another night as the Montgomerys were going to see the new Star Wars movie and she wanted to see it too. Candy attempted to call Betty a couple of times to ask permission to let her stay, but wasn’t getting an answer. She figured she was just busy taking care of her baby and decided to stop by while the kids were at their Bible School in between some errands she had to run.

She got to the Gore’s home and the details on what happened next are debated, but it ended in Candy striking Betty with an ax 41 times. She then got in her car, drove home, and after putting her blood stained shirt in the sink to soak, she took a shower and bandaged up her bleeding toe. She gathered herself and returned to the church to pick up the kids. When she arrived, one of the women asked where she had been as she had missed the kids puppet show that she had promised she wouldn’t. She told them that she and Betty got talking and when she arrived at Target to get some cards, she realized her watch had stopped and she had no idea what time it was, so she rushed back immediately. She then went to go check on the kids and the woman noticed that she was wearing tennis shoes. This might seem like a random thing to notice, but it was because she was known for always wearing the same pair of flip flops all summer, so the woman took note of it.
Candy went on with life as normal and focused on looking like nothing was wrong. She called Pat and checked in on their plans, asking him to run an errand for her as she hadn’t had time. She told him the same story about her watch stopping, let him know Alisa would be spending the night again, and threw in a question about if Pat knew where Allan was working that day. He of course thought that was a little strange, but didn’t dwell on it for too long.

Allan was up in Minnesota for the weekend, on a work trip for a new company he was working for. He loved traveling and the work he was doing, but with Betty’s stress over him being away, he wasn’t enjoying it as much as he would have. He had promised to call from the airport and was surprised when she didn’t answer, but figured she had taken Bethany on an afternoon walk.
After arriving in Minnesota, he tried calling Betty again, but still got no answer. He went over the day in his head, trying to figure out if he had forgotten something Betty had said, but he was growing more and more worried and had a sinking feeling something was wrong. He called a neighbor and asked him to go check on her since he couldn’t get ahold of her and he thought maybe something was wrong with the phone. The neighbor went over and knocked on the door, but got no answer. Everything seemed fine though, and this is what he told Allan. Allan said it wasn’t like Betty to leave the house in the evening, especially without telling anyone, so he was growing more concerned.

The next call he made was to the Montgomery home. Candy answered and when he asked if she had seen Betty, her response was to ask where he was. He told her and then got back to the purpose of his call, telling Candy that he thought he may have talked to her. She said that she had gone over in the morning to pick up Alisa’s swimsuit and that she seemed fine. They talked for a minute, and he then asked to speak with his daughter. He checked on her and asked whether Betty had said anything to her about plans for the evening, but Alisa didn’t remember her saying anything. When Candy got back on the phone, she offered to go to the house and check on Betty and Bethany, but Allan declined the offer saying that he would call a neighbor.
Allan then went down to dinner and returned to his hotel room shortly after 10pm. He tried calling again, but still wasn’t getting an answer. He then called the neighbor again and asked him if he could check the garage to see if the car was there. He did and told Allan that there was one car in the garage, it was open, and the lights were on. At this point, he knew something was wrong. He thought maybe something had happened to Bethany and called the police and the hospital with no results.

He was spiraling and needed to talk to someone with a calm and level head, so he called Candy again. He told her what was going on and she offered again to go and check on them. He declined again and said he would talk to the neighbors again. So he did and he asked his neighbor to check all the doors, hoping that maybe Betty had left a note somewhere. The neighbor came back and told Allan that he had been mistaken about there only being one car in the garage, and that they were both there, he just hadn’t seen the second at first as it was pulled up further than usual. They both knew now that something was wrong and Allan told him he needed to get into the house any way he could.

Allan then called another neighbor for reinforcements whose wife told him to take another neighbor and the three men ended up getting into the house, realizing the front door wasn’t locked. They went in and started looking through the house where they found Bethany in her crib, hungry, dirty, and crying hoarsely. They got her out and continued looking for Betty when one of them saw a large pool of blood coming from the utility room. He took a glance in and thought she had been shot in the head. They then called Allan back and told them what they had found with the police arriving shortly after that.

Allan called the Montgomerys again to let them know what was going on and to ask them to keep Alisa at their house for a while. They of course agreed and Candy once again went about life pretty much as normal. That didn’t last long though because once everyone woke up, word started getting around town and the phone was ringing off the hook. Not because people thought she had anything to do with it, but because she always knew what was going on so everyone wanted to talk to her about it. This understandably stressed Candy out, but it also brought to her some information she may not have had otherwise. She heard that they had found a bloody footprint, so with that information in hand, she cut up the flip flops she’d been wearing with garden shears. The garden shears may seem random, but when she wasn’t on the phone she had been tending to her garden, trimming bushes around her fence, so they were already in her grasp. Everyone she talked to was astounded by the situation and had strong opinions on what should happen to the individual responsible for such a violent crime, none the wiser that they were talking to that very person.
Since Candy was so close and involved with the family, she was on the initial list of people brought in for questioning, but after investigators initial conversation with her, she wasn’t on any short list. This didn’t last long though because while Allan had initially denied any affairs, he realized he needed to fess up and admitted to police what had happened. This of course changed everything for investigators and the evidence against her was looking promising. The footprint they had found was pretty small and told them they were looking for someone small in stature, most likely a woman or child. They of course brought her in again, but this time she had lawyered up. She hired Don Crowder, who actually wasn’t a criminal attorney. He had never worked a criminal case and usually stuck more to civil litigations like worker’s comp and personal injury cases. I won’t go into a bunch of detail about what happened in between here, but they did end up charging her for the murder of Betty Gore and by the time they got to trial, it was looking like a slam dunk. There was ample evidence against Candy, and it didn’t seem like there was any way she could come out of it with a favorable verdict.
Don Crowder, though, proved to be pretty good at the whole criminal defense side of law despite never having done it before. His methods were definitely not status quo and he got a lot of flack for “breaking rules” with his unconventional approach. He surprised everyone when he had Candy take the stand and admit to killing Betty. If you haven’t watched “Candy” yet, then you’re probably thinking well that was stupid. And normally I’d agree, and I did when I first saw it. But they spun it into an act of self defense. In preparation for the trial, Don had had Candy see a therapist and get hypnotized in order to remember exactly what had happened and to get to the root cause of why she lost control. This is what provided her with the story she told in court. She claimed that when she went to get Alisa’s swimsuit, Betty confronted her about the affair. She said that she admitted to having had the affair, but that it was over. Betty then went into the utility room and brought an ax in and set it down while telling her not to see him again before giving her peppermints to take for Alisa. She said that they made eye contact and she wasn’t seeing rage anymore, but pain, and she felt guilty for what she had done. So she put her hand on Betty’s arm and said “Oh Betty, I’m so sorry.”

Candy says that this is when Betty’s rage came back and she quickly flung Candy’s hand off her arm and shoved her toward the utility room before grabbing the ax. She then said “You can’t have him. You can’t have him. I’m going to have a baby, and you can’t have him this time.” Candy then said “Betty, don’t. This is stupid. I don’t want Allan.” She says they stood there for a moment before Betty started to lift the ax and said to her, “I’ve got to kill you.” They then struggled for the ax and after Betty hitting Candy’s head with the flat end and then slicing a gash in her toe, Candy overpowered Betty and got the ax. They continued to struggle and Betty ended up on the floor and at some point something in Candy snapped and she hit Betty over and over with the ax. She ended up hitting her 41 times. Note: In case you’re curious like I was, based on blood flow, she was alive for 40 of those.

Don was worried that her story might have seemed too rehearsed as she had seemed very composed during the majority of her testimony, but he had one last thing in his pocket. He brought out the ax and made her look at it and admit what she had done and she reacted by bursting into tears and asking for it to be taken away. Her story seemed to have affected the jury, but the prosecution wasn’t too worried. They stuck to their original plan and had her repeat her story and tried to find cracks in her story, but ended up doing the opposite. They couldn’t find any discrepancies and she was able to provide details the jury felt she wouldn’t have been able to had she been making it up, like the placement of the jar of mints. That is why they ultimately found her not guilty for the murder of Betty Gore.

It was understandably a surprise to a lot of people as no one thought she would get off scot free. But she did. She did end up moving away though, and while Pat stayed with her and supported her through the trial, they divorced a few years later. She ironically got certified as a family counselor and does that now, so that’s an interesting development. We’re going to dive a little more into that and what happened with the rest of the people involved in our bonus episode over on Patreon, so head over there if you want to hear about that and our opinions on everything we couldn’t fit into today’s episode.




Accessed July, 2022. Find a Grave: Betty Gore
Accessed July, 2022. The Murder of Betty Gore at the Hands of Desperate Housewife Candy Montgomery
Accessed July, 2022. Hulu’s ‘Candy’: The story behind Betty Gore, a Texas teacher killed with an ax in 1980
Accessed July, 2022. Allan Gore Bio, Today, Age, New Wife, Betty Husband
Accessed July, 2022. Inside the grisly story of an axe killing that inspired new Hulu series ‘Candy’
Accessed July, 2022. History vs Hollywood: Candy
Accessed July, 2022. Candy Montgomery: The Most Infamous Ax Murder in Collin County History

Candy Montgomery: The Most Infamous Ax Murder in Collin County History

Accessed July, 2022. Don Crowder Successfully Defended Candy Montgomery, But His Story Ended In Tragedy
Accessed July, 2022. Love and Death in Silicon Prairie, Part I: Candy Montgomery’s Affair
Accessed July, 2022. Love and Death in Silicon Prairie, Part II: Candy Montgomery’s Affair