When Candy Montgomery Killed Her Lover's Wife with an Axe, Police Thought It Was a Copycat of 'The Shining'

Betty Gore was found dead on June 13, 1980, just months after the iconic Jack Nicholson movie was released

Gore family: Infant Bethany, Alisa Allan and Betty. Credit: Ron Pomeroy
Betty and Allan Gore, and their family. Photo: Ron Pomeroy

On the evening of June 13, 1980, Betty Gore was found dead on the utility room floor in her Wylie, Texas home. She had been struck by an axe 41 times.

As investigators tried to figure out who would have killed the bubbly mother of two children who seemingly had no enemies, they began to wonder if a popular movie had inspired the killings.

"It looked like a scene from a horror film," former Collin County sheriff's deputy Steve Deffibaugh tells PEOPLE in its latest issue. "It was a Friday the 13th. Our thought was that we had a copycat of the movie 'The Shining.'

The iconic Jack Nicholson movie had been released on May 23 of that year — just 3 weeks before Gore was killed. Press materials at the time showed Nicholson carrying an axe during his rampage in the now-classic horror film.

But as it turned out, Gore's death wasn't at the hands of a deranged movie fan, but rather caused by her best friend, Candy Montgomery. Gore had discovered that her husband, Allan, had been having an affair with Candy, and the ensuing confrontation had turned deadly.

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Candy Montgomery, undated photo Credit: Steven Deffibaugh
Candy Montgomery. Steven Deffibaugh

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In a high-profile trial, Candy Mongomery testified that Betty had swung at her with an axe, and she had wrestled the weapon from her friend's hands and killed her.

Still, there were questions: if Candy Montgomery had acted in self defense, why did she strike her friend 41 times, only stopping because she was exhausted? In her trial, Montgomery testified that Gore had "shushed" her, which triggered memories of her abusive mother.

The defense worked, and Montgomery was acquitted of the murder. She is now living in Georgia, where she works as a mental health counselor.

Now, more than four decades later, the case still has the power to shock, even as it garners fresh attention with two new productions: Candy, starring Jessica Biel, and Love & Death, starring Elizabeth Olsen. The case will also be the subject of an upcoming episode of People Magazine Investigates.

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