Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder By the Book: Candy and Betty

Wrapping Up

As Don Crowder was wrapping up the defense testimony, he and Judge Ryan had one final tiff. Crowder was questioning a witness when Ryan gave him a figurative nudge to move him along. Crowder flashed with anger.

"You have interjected your bias in this trial from the very moment that it started," he said. "Your honor, I won't be lectured or bullied in this courtroom. I'm representing a woman who may go to jail for her life...and the record of this trial shows from the very time it started to now, you have interjected your bias and continued to do so, and no, I will not lay down for you."

Ryan cited Crowder for contempt, and Crowder spent the night in jail.

Due in part to the obvious enmity between Ryan and Crowder, the atmosphere in the courtroom was tense during closing arguments. Both attorneys seemed off their games. Most witnesses judged that neither O'Connell nor Crowder did a particularly good job of dealing with Candy's alleged dissociative reaction. Crowder bounced back and forth between the self-defense and mental short-circuit angles:

"She was aware of doing the act but didn't comprehend what she was doing," he told the puzzled jury. "I know that there are things in this case that still bother you. I'd be a fool not to recognize that. How in God's name could one human being inflict that kind of punishment Candy Montgomery inflicted on another. Well, I've got an answer. When Betty Gore came to Mrs. Montgomery she was no longer a human being. She was an animal. She turned into something less than a human being. She was an animal in search of prey. She was ready to attack."

Prosecutor O'Connell was not much more lucid in his summation, fumbling over even simple details. He said, "You're not going to swing an axe 28 times or 41, or however many times it was in this case, and not know what you're doing."

After listening to eight days of testimony, the jury was instructed by Judge Ryan and sent away to deliberate. Two hours later, the foreman informed the bailiff that he was ready to announce a verdict. Courtroom observers whispered, "Guilty." How could it be anything but on such a quick deliberation? The only question seemed to be whether Candy Montgomery would be convicted of murder or some form of manslaughter, given the apparent lack of premeditation.

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