Tuesday night is the series premiere of Investigation Discovery’s latest re-enactmentacular true crime series seductively titled Secret Lives of Stepford Wives. The premiere episode “features the true story of a housewife whose desire to keep up with the Joneses is matched only by her desperation to sweep her wrongdoings under the rug,” according to the network. The unbelievable true story features a church pianist and Bible school teacher, an affair, Friday the 13th, and a brutal ax murder that has already inspired a book and a movie!
Secret Lives of Stepford Wives‘ premiere episode, titled “Playdate with Death (preview clip above),” tells the story of Candace “Candy” Montgomery, a church pianist from Wylie, Texas who spices up her mundane life by cheating on her husband with another married man from her church.
From Investigation Discovery:
From secret hotel rendezvous to church choir run-ins, this affair is exactly what Montgomery needs to spice up her blasé day. However, even the best-laid plans can go awry. When her lover’s guilt threatens to end the relationship, Montgomery’s seamless life starts coming undone and an unexpected confrontation ends in ax murder.
But not just any ax murder! Seemingly not wanting to be outdone by Lizzy Borden, Montgomery killed Betty Gore with 41 WHACKS! After doing the deed, Candy reportedly took a shower in Betty’s bathroom — a seemingly insignificant factoid, but one that got a lot of play in the press when the murder story started garnering headlines nationwide.
After the shower, Candy Montgomery “returned to the Bible school, ate lunch and gave the children a Scripture lesson,” says The Dallas Morning News. “Next she took Lisa and her own daughter shopping for Father’s Day cards. She told no one what she had done at the Gore house. Days later, police linked her to a bloody thumbprint found on the Gores’ freezer. She was arrested and charged with murder.”
(Adding more fuel to the sensational story’s publicity fire was the fact that the murder took place on Friday the 13th in June of 1980.)
Candy Montgomery’s trial started in October of 1980 and although she admitted to killing Betty Gore, Candy says it was in self defense. According to Candy’s testimony, she and Betty were talking and during the conversation Candy admitted to having an affair with Betty’s husband, Allan Gore.
^ Photo of Candace Montgomery from Tru TV’s Murder By the Book
From Crime Library:
Candy said she admitted the relationship but told Betty it had been over for some time. She said Betty stepped into the garage, then reappeared at the kitchen door holding an ax.
Candy went on to describe a curious resumption of their chitchat about the swimsuit and peppermint candy. She said it didn’t occur to her that Betty intended to hit her with the ax.
As Candy was about to leave, she said, she apologized to Betty for the affair.
Suddenly the woman surged toward her, shouting, “You can’t have him!”
Candy said they grappled for the weapon as she insisted, “I don’t want him!”
During the struggle, Candy said, she was hit on the head and the foot, drawing blood. The sight of the crimson ooze touched off some type of hematological rage, she claimed. She grasped the ax and struck Betty. Candy asserted that as the two women fought, Betty did something very odd: She shushed her. “Shhhhhh!”
Candy saw red. She knocked Betty down then hacked away with the ax until the woman was dead.
Prior to the trial, Candy was placed under hypnosis by psychiatrist Dr. Fred Fason. While under hypnosis Candy revealed a traumatic event from when she was six years old and had stepped on some broken glass, resulting in a nasty gash on her foot, a lot of blood, and a trip to the doctor for stitches. While at the doctor Candy had a fit of screaming and crying and would not stop. Candy’s mother attempted to quiet her with a “Shhhhhh!”
From Crime Library:
Fason testified that when Betty Gore shushed Candy 25 years later, it brought back a flood of repressed memory that touched off a violent “dissociative reaction.” The Houston psychiatrist described that phenomenon as a form of neurosis that can prompt “out of body” experiences. Sufferers sometimes do things without knowing it during bouts of amnesia, sleepwalking or dream states.
The ploy seemed to work because after less than five hours of deliberation the jury came back with a “not guilty” verdict.
Candy and her husband Pat Montgomery, an engineer for Texas Instruments, fled Texas and reportedly relocated near Atlanta.
Betty Gore’s husband, who had the affair with Candy, married his neighbor, Elaine Clift, just a few months after Candy’s acquittal. (The two reportedly started their romance within a couple week’s of Betty’s murder.)
Betty’s two daughters did not have a positive relationship with their father and were both eventually adopted by their grandparents, Betty’s mother and father, who lived in Kansas.
Bethany Gore, 20, and Lisa Gore Harder, 25, spoke with The Dallas Morning News 20 years after the slaying. “I just wish I knew what really happened,” Ms. Gore revealed. “Because nobody knows but her.” She added, “I just think she got away with it.”
Meanwhile, Candy Montgomery was still living in Georgia under her maiden name of Candace Wheeler when The Dallas Morning News reached out to her for her comments 20 years after. “I’m telling you in big bold letters,” she said, “I’m not interested.”
Secret Lives of Stepford Wives airs Tuesday nights at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.
For more info on Candace Montgomery and the ax killing of Betty Gore, be sure to check out these links:
Book Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs by John Bloom and Jim Alkinson
Some in Wylie don’t know of 1980 ax slaying; others can’t forget (The Betty Gore ax murder 30 years later)