The Harrowing True Story Behind HBO’s ‘Love and Death’

Elizabeth Olsen as Candy Montgomery in HBO Max series Love and Death.

If you’re interested in true crime stories, then chances are, you’re eagerly anticipating the release of HBO Max‘s Love and Death. Elizabeth Olsen stars as Candy Montgomery, a suburban housewife who becomes embroiled in an extramarital affair with Allan Gore (Jesse Plemons). But who is Candy Montgomery really, and what is the true story behind Love and Death?

The seven-episode limited series is based on both Texas Monthly‘s coverage of the story, as well as the official court transcripts. It is the second limited series to be based on the case, with Hulu’s Candy series being released last year. But what is the truth?

Ahead, we’ll break down all your burning questions about Candy Montgomery, the housewife behind the brutal axe murder of Allan’s wife, Betty Gore.


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Who Is Candy Montgomery?

Candace “Candy” Montgomery is a woman who gained notoriety for her involvement in a sensational murder case in Texas in the 1980s.

Candy married Pat Montgomery in the early 1970s, and the couple had two children together; a son and a daughter.

Candy was active in her church and community, and she had a reputation as a friendly and outgoing woman.

However, her life took a dark turn when she became involved in an extramarital affair with a neighbour, Allan Gore.

Candy and Allan’s affair eventually led to a violent confrontation in which Candy brutally murdered Allan’s wife, Betty Gore, with an axe.

The case quickly sparked media attention across the United States, and has continued to fascinate true crime enthusiasts for decades.

Why Did Candy Montgomery Kill Betty Gore?

Candy Montgomery and Allan Gore were embroiled in an extramarital affair from late 1978 to July 1979. After ending their romantic relationship, both Candy and Allan remained with their respective spouses, and the couples remained in each other’s social circles.

Texas Monthly reports that in 1980, Betty Gore confronted Candy, and asked her if she was having an affair with Allan. Candy initially denied the affair, but when Betty pressed, Candy conceded, saying “yes, but it was a long time ago”.

Candy had been visiting the Gore residence to collect a swimsuit for Betty’s daughter Alisa, who was spending the night with the Montgomerys. By Candy’s account, she apologised to Betty and tried to assure her that the affair was over, but Betty erupted in rage.

From there, things escalated quickly. Candy alleges that Betty threatened to kill her and picked up the axe first, coming at her.

The pair struggled for control of the axe, with Betty cutting Candy’s toe in the fight. When Candy got ahold of the axe, she “didn’t hesitate”.

“I hit her, and I hit her, and I hit her, and I hit her,” Candy testified in court.

What was Candy Montgomery’s motive for the murder?

Candy Montgomery claims that she acted in self-defence. Many people have doubts about this, though, because Betty Gore was struck with the axe 41 times.

What Happened In the Candy Montgomery Case?

After Candy Montgomery was arrested, the case and trial quickly became a media sensation.

The case also sparked debate about the impact of mental illness on criminal behaviour. During the trial, a psychiatrist noted that Candy had a history of mental illness, and argued that Candy had experienced a “dissociative reaction” during the fight with Betty. The psychiatrist said that in this dissociative state, Candy didn’t realise how many times she had struck Betty.

Was Candy Montgomery Convicted?

Ultimately, Candy was found not guilty by reason of self-defence. A jury acquitted her of  the murder charges on October 29, 1980. She served no jail time.

While the court found Candy not guilty, the public disagreed.

UPI reports that as she left the courthouse, citizens of the town greeted her with chants of, “Murderer! Murderer!”

Where Is Candy Montgomery Now?

After Candy Montgomery was found not guilty, she relocated from Texas to Georgia with her husband Pat and their children.

Texas Monthly reports that Pat stood by Candy’s side throughout the trial, and that he was “heartened by the way everyone stood by them”.

However, four years after the trial, Candy and Pat divorced.

Today, Candy Montgomery is alive and still living in Georgia. Newsweek reports that she lives her life out of the public eye, and works in the mental health counsellor. Born in November 1949, she is currently 73 years old.

Love and Death premieres on BINGE on April 27.

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