Elizabeth Olsen (WandaVision) will star in the series “Love and Death”, a limited series inspired by the story of Candy Montgomery who, in 1980, was suspected of having murdered her lover’s wife with an ax.
The fiction has just been officially commissioned by the HBO Max streaming platform, and will be piloted by David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies, The Undoing). Adaptation of delivered Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs, and fueled by the many articles published by the American newspaper Texas Monthly on the case, this limited series will follow “two couples of believers leading a peaceful life in the state of Texas, until someone grabs an ax,” says the official description.
The project is not to be confused with another series called Candy, who was to see Elisabeth Moss (Handmaid’s Tale) embody the famous killer, as announced by many sites Americans last July. But which, for the moment, seems totally at a standstill. “It’s a compelling story about the frustrations and desires of two small town women, which culminates in an act of terrible violence,” comments Sarah Aubrey, director of original content at HBO Max.
A bloody murder against a background of deception and jealousy
Candy Montgomery was a housewife married to Pat Montgomery. She met Bethany Gore – nicknamed Betty – at church where she was giving Bible readings. The two women will develop a deep friendship. Before things turn sour when Candy will develop an attraction for her husband, Allan Gore.
It was during a volleyball game in 1978 that Candy started to have feelings for Betty’s husband. Aged 28 at the time, after a rehearsal with the church choir, she decided to confess her attraction to Allan Gore. The latter then replies to him that he is in love with his wife, and does not wish to have an affair with her.
However, three weeks later, tired of a too monotonous married life, Allan resumes contact with Candy. They end up agreeing on an extra-marital relationship without sentimental attachment. In December 1978, Candy and Allan began their affair in a hotel. They see each other regularly, while being careful not to arouse the suspicions of their respective spouses.
When Betty gives birth to their second daughter, Allan is forced to space out the dates. Both consumed by a feeling of guilt, they begin to discuss the possibility of ending their affair. At the same time, Betty begins to notice the change in attitude in her husband, and finds herself close to depression due to his lack of desire for her. Soon after, Betty and Allan undergo couples therapy, which allows them to breathe new life into their union. The affair between Allan and Candy ends.
On June 13, 1980, while Allan Gore was on a business trip, he noted with concern that Betty did not answer the phone despite her numerous attempts. He then asks neighbors to go and see if his wife is at home. But no one comes to open the door. Allan then decides to call Candy, who assures him that Betty was fine the last time she saw him earlier in the day. The worry does not leave Allan, because the two cars are in the garage, and the lights are on in the house. He understands that something is wrong. He gives permission to the neighbors to enter their home, and that’s when Betty’s body is discovered, in a room next to their crying baby’s room.
A resounding trial
The police investigation begins. Candy quickly becomes the main suspect, because she is the last person to have seen Betty alive. But her testimony about the day of the murder gives no reason for the police to believe that she may be the murderer. Until they find out the affair between Candy and Allan.
During her trial, Candy will affirm having been taken to task by Betty about her affair with her husband. She explains that Betty showed up armed with an ax that she threatened her with, while demanding that she never see Allan again. The two women then grabbed each other, before Candy managed to take possession of the weapon when Betty lost her balance. Enraged, Candy then hit the back of Betty’s head with the ax blade. The injury is severe, but Betty is still alive. Another scuffle of several minutes ensues to take control of the ax. Candy will end up getting her hands on it and, using her last strength, finishes off Betty, whose body will be marked by 41 blows. Her face is so disfigured that it is barely identifiable.
Candy Montgomery’s lawyer chose to plead self-defense for his client. But to most of the people who attended the trial, it seemed impossible that the jury would accept such an argument after the chilling tale that was made. And yet. At the time of rendering the verdict, it is the word “not guilty” which is pronounced in the court. In town, many people think that Candy Montgomery has just escaped justice after having committed a crime in cold blood.
She and her husband will stay together after the trial, and will move east, to Georgia. They will end up divorcing shortly thereafter. Candy Montgomery still lives there, and has recovered her maiden name, Candace Wheeler. Last I heard, she was working with her daughter, Jenny, as a psychologist with adolescents and adults with depression. Allan Gore remarried between Betty’s death and Candy’s trial, but lost custody of his two daughters who left to live with his in-laws.