Hulu’s ‘Candy’: The story behind Betty Gore, a Texas teacher killed with an ax in 1980

·4 min read
Tina Rowden/Hulu

The 1980 murder of Betty Gore in Wylie, Texas, and the trial of her friend, Candace “Candy” Montgomery, has gotten renewed interest 42 years later with new crime dramas revisiting the case.

Gore, a school teacher described as “pretty” with a “wide Hollywood smile,” was killed by 41 ax wounds in her home. Her murder is the focus of Hulu’s “Candy” and HBO Max’s upcoming “Love and Death.”

Hulu’s “Candy” streamed as a five-night event May 9 to 13, starring Melanie Lynskey as Gore. Lynskey is a New Zealand actress best known for the sitcom “Two and a Half Men” and drama series “Yellowjackets.”

“I loved all the little moments where they just show the mundanity of the suburban life that these women were leading and how much was placed on their shoulders – how much they had to do every single day, how exhausted they both were and how [we] slowly get to know both of them,” Lynskey said in an interview with Pop Culture. “Then it all culminates at the end of the show in this way that’s so shocking.”

HBO Max’s “Love and Death” will be released sometime this year. Gore will be portrayed by Lily Rabe, who had multiple roles in the FX anthology horror series “American Horror Story.”

Who was Betty Gore?

Betty Gore, born in 1950, grew up with two brothers, Ron and Richard, in Norwich, Kansas. She was an elementary school teacher. She married her college math teacher, Allan Gore, in 1970. The Gores had two daughters, Alisa and Bethany, and two cocker spaniels.

“Betty Pomeroy had been one of those girls whose conventionality made her the frequent center of attention,” read a 1984 Texas Monthly profile. “She was pretty; she had an innocence about her and a wide Hollywood smile that had made her one of the most popular girls in her tiny hometown of Norwich, Kansas.”

Gore was 30 years old when she died. Her youngest child was almost a year old at the time of her death.

How did Candy and Betty know each other?

Betty Gore and Candy Montgomery met at the First United Methodist Church of Lucas, where they regularly attended service, sang in the choir and played volleyball. The two women and their families became close friends.

Montgomery had an affair with Gore’s husband beginning in December 1978. They ended their relationship after the birth of Gore’s second child, Bethany, in July 1979.

How did Betty Gore die?

On June 13, 1980, the Gore home at 410 Dogwood St. in Wylie became the site of a gruesome killing.

After Gore confronted Montgomery about the affair, Gore was found dead by her two neighbors, Lester Gayler and Richard Parker. Gore was in a blood-spattered utility room with 41 ax wounds, 40 of which occurred while Gore’s heart was still beating.

“We went down the hall to the bathroom, turning on lights,” Gayler told The Dallas Morning News. “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.”

Four months after the killing, an eight-day trial was held in McKinney to determine whether Montgomery had murdered Gore. Montgomery pleaded self-defense, arguing that Gore had grabbed a 3-foot ax from the garage and struck her twice with it. A psychiatrist testified that Montgomery had a “dissociative reaction” triggered by childhood trauma when Gore shushed her.

Montgomery was acquitted in October that year after the jury accepted the self-defense claim.

“As far as I’m concerned, justice will be served. She has to live with it,” said Gore’s father, Bob Pomeroy, according to a UPI report at the time. “I wouldn’t say I was happy with the verdict. We don’t know what happened and we never will know what happened.”

On the true-crime reality series “Snapped,” Gore’s brother, Richard Pomeroy, said: “I don’t think justice was served in the least bit. I think it was a murder.”

[PHOTOS: Candy Montgomery’s 1980 arrest, trial in North Texas over teacher’s ax murder]

What happened to Betty Gore’s daughters?

The Gore daughters Alisa and Bethany were raised by her parents in her hometown of Norwich, Kansas. The girls’ grandmother, Bertha Pomeroy, died in 2010 at the age of 77. Her husband Bob had died in 2003.

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