In a story like the one we discovered recently about Candy Montgomery through TV shows like Hulu’s Candy and HBO’s Love & Death, the critical point is what happened at the trial. The facts are known, and we explained them in this article: Candy Montgomery killed Betty Gore with an ax that was stored in Betty’s garage. It is well-known that Candy was found not guilty of murder because she acted in self-defense, and people got curious about her testimony at Candy Montgomery’s trial. Is there any transcript, and what were her authentic words? Let’s discover what we know.
You can watch the official trailer for HBO’s Love & Death here on Youtube.
Candy Montgomery’s testimony at her trial in 1980: is there a transcript?
The words Candy Montgomery pronounced in the testimony at her trial in October 1980 are not available in a full version or a transcript. However, we can read some of the sentences she said from this old article on the United Press International, dated October 23, 1980.
According to this article, during the trial, Candy Montgomery confirmed that she was attacked twice by Betty Gore. At some point, she needed to defend herself. Before the attacks, Betty asked Candy if she had an affair with her husband, Allan Gore. Candy confirmed she had one months before, swearing it was over. “But you did have one, didn’t you?” Betty said, as Candy quoted her in her testimony.
After Candy confirmed it, Betty entered the utility room and returned with the infamous ax. “I don’t ever want you to see him again. You can’t have him,” Betty said. According to Candy Montgomery’s testimony at her trial, she answered: “Betty, don’t be ridiculous. It was over a long time ago.” Acknowledging that, Betty left the ax against the wall, looking calm.
The conversation between Betty and Candy went on, and at some point, Candy showed remorse for the affair. Candy said at her testimony: “She looked so hurt and so distressed; I reached out and put my hand on her arm and said, ‘Betty I’m so sorry.'” That sentence triggered Betty: she pushed her into the utility room, picked up the ax again, and said, “You can’t have him, you can’t have him. I’ve got to kill you.”
Betty hit Candy’s head. Candy managed to avoid being hit seriously, then she took the ax from her hands and hit Betty in the hand. Betty swang back, and Candy tried to escape. But Betty stood up again and attacked Candy a second time. In her testimony, Candy Montgomery says she begged: “Betty let me go, please let me go.”
The interesting detail is what made Candy Montgomery “snap,” as HBO’s series Love & Death shows. As this other article on UPI explains, Candy revealed under hypnosis a childhood trauma that had a role in what happened with Betty Gore: she was cut when she was 4 years old, and she was crying in the doctor’s room. Her mother repeatedly addressed Candy with a “ssshhh.” “What will people in the waiting room think?” she kept repeating to her daughter. Candy felt abused and held anger toward her mother for a long time. Years later, when she begged Betty to stop attacking her and let her go, Betty replied with a similar “ssshhh.” Somehow, that triggered Candy’s aggressive reaction.
In her testimony at the trial in 1980, Candy Montgomery said: “I didn’t think at all. I raise it and I hit her, and I hit hit, and I hit her and I hit her.”
The explanation provided by Candy Montgomery at her trial was the main element the jury had to decide whether the self-defense claims were valid. On October 30, 1980, the jury found Candy Montgomery not guilty, acknowledging that she acted in self-defense. As we know, public opinion wasn’t happy with the verdict, claiming that the violent modality of the murder is not easily explainable with self-defense.
You can find a collection of archive photos of Candy Montgomery from the days of her trial in this article on Star-Telegram.