Editor’s note: If you’re fascinated by this case, check out our full interview with the last surviving member of Candy Montgomery’s defense team.
Hulu just began airing a mini series called Candy about the case of a Wylie, Texas housewife, Candy Montgomery, who admitted to killing her friend and fellow church member Betty Gore with an axe. HBO is airing Love and Death about the same. Lawyers at Dallas-based Mattox and Crowder successfully argued self defense for Montgomery in 1980.
No one is quite sure where Montgomery is today, but it looks as if interest in the gruesome 40-plus-year-old case isn’t going to disappear anytime soon.
It has been the subject of multiple articles, shows, books and movies — and probably will remain in people’s memories long after they forget the gossip of the moment. So here are some of the cases closest ties to Advocate neighborhoods Lake Highlands, East Dallas and Preston Hollow.
In Lake Highlands — what brought Candy Montgomery to Wylie, Texas in the first place? She was a military brat who had moved around much of her young life. After she married Pat, he landed a job at Texas Instruments in Lake Highlands, where, in the Hulu show, he says he is “treated very well.”
“When Pat Montgomery married Candy Wheeler in the early seventies, he was one of the brightest young electrical engineers at Texas Instruments,” per Texas Monthly.
Coincidentally, the June issue of LH Advocate will include a cover feature on TI, its storied history and the world-changing innovations and inventions happening in our own backyard. No, we never mention Pat or his bloody associations. (We do mention how TI’s speaking language translator was used and recorded for posterity by a German electronica band in the 1980s, so keep an eye out for that one). Texas Monthly‘s article on Candy Montgomery is titled Love and Death in Silicon Prairie. The corridor along which Texas Instruments and University of Texas at Dallas stand reportedly is the birthplace of what’s known as Texas’ Silicon Prairie.
Not in Lake Highlands, but if you ever travel to Collin County by way of Central, you’ve seen this. When Candy Montgomery and Betty’s husband Allan Gore conducted their extramarital affair, they met at a “sleazy” motel, just north of the Richardson/Central Expressway TI entrance, called the Como Motel. You can still see the Como Motel sign, looking as it did in the 1980s, from Central.
One of the neighbors who found Betty’s body, Jerry McMahan, was another TI employee.
Preston Hollow and East Dallas connections — Candy Montgomery’s main defense lawyer was Don Crowder — who graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School and played football at SMU. He had little trial experience when he took the Montgomery case. The Hulu series shows him being held in contempt of court on multiple occasions, despite his team’s ultimately victorious ruling. A 1999 Observer article revealed that after a successful run in local politics (Collin County and Texas), Crowder, suffering from depression, took his own life.
In 1970, according to the article, Crowder formed a partnership with a former law school classmate, Jim Mattox, a Woodrow Wilson High School graduate and later the Texas Attorney General. They officed on Cedar Springs.
A then junior member of Crowder and Mattox’s firm, Robert Udashen, is semi retired, but for 20 years he had his office in East Dallas and was an adjunct professor of Texas criminal procedure, trial advocacy and criminal law in the Dedman School of Law at SMU.
Udashen appeared on an episode of Snapped, where he spoke about his experience on the case.
UNT archived video footage, titled “axe murderer,” which shows Udashen bailing Montgomery out of jail, apparently before she had told her lawyers the truth about killing Gore.
When Candace Montgomery declined (through an acquaintance) to grant her a meeting, Jessica Biel, star and producer of Hulu’s “Candy,” met with Udashen in preparation for her role. The actor told Entertainment Weekly in 2022 that he was a “huge resource of information.”