The episode I’m currently working on bringing to you deals heavily with crimes against children. It’s about the documentary “The Witnesses” that aired on Oxygen (which I hope everyone watches). As it turns out, I was recently informed that the subject matter is hitting real close to home- a family member has been molested. I am angry and in an extremely emotional state over these revelations, and speaking about this right now is -in a word- painful. It brings back painful memories for me (an abused and exploited Black woman). It also makes me wonder how I missed the signs. There’s a bit of guilt being felt by the entire family at this point. That being said, I will ALWAYS advocate for the victims of child sexual assault and this situation just adds fuel to a fire that may only be quenched when there is an end to the victimization of children everywhere. I am more committed than EVER to put out an episode that will light that fire under my audience- or maybe just fuel it, because I am positive you all despise child molestation as much as I do. I’m gathering more info in the interim. I’m only asking that you respect my process in dealing with this news. I just need a little time. Then get ready- cause next episode I’m going all the way IN!! Love ya, miss ya- later bookworms.
In my Jehovah’s Witnesses rabbit hole, I came across a photo of one of the governing body members of the organization, Stephen Lett. OMG- this guy reminds me so much of ANOTHER cult leader, Marshall Applewhite. You probably remember Applewhite as the leader of the Heaven’s Gate cult. We’ll eventually get to him in a future episode. Had to share this because the similarity seems downright eerie. What do you think?
Last night Oxygen released a full length documentary that explores the child sexual abuse accusations that are plaguing the Jehovah’s Witness organization. I have been following the allegations for a number of years, so this is hardly a new issue, but it is gaining media attention due to the sheer number of lawsuits that are being levied against the religion.
I am particularly interested in following this story because I was married to a member of the religion and I did study the Bible with my former mother in law and spouse. I had very strong opinions then, but I felt as if I wasn’t giving the religion a fair shot due to my Baptist upbringing. I have long since re-evaluated my thoughts on ALL organized religion and as the stories pile up I am glad that I never was indoctrinated into the Witnesses.
I planned on covering Solitary this week, but given the timing of this documentary and new investigations being underway, I thought I would take an episode to explain the situation as it is right now. Of course, this is an ongoing situation that will be updated as new info comes out.
Please join me Friday when I lay the allegations out, the reasons why the organization is being held responsible, and other doctrines of the Witnesses that are considered problematic. Of course, I do plan on releasing the episode on Solitary in the very near future.
Tidings and salutations, bibliophages! Welcome to another episode of True Crime: By The Book! Every week we get together to discuss books, movies, and documentaries that center on true crime. I’m your host, the Librarian, Tasha Pierce. This week we will be discussing the docuseries that is airing on Netflix called Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez.
I would be negligent if I did not address that the sports world lost another legend this past Sunday. Kobe Bryant was among the victims of a helicopter crash in Calabassas- nine people died in total in an accident that shocked many of us to our cores. There are a lot of opinions on Kobe, both professionally and personally, but I choose today to focus on ways he improved the world around him. Bryant was the official ambassador for After-School All-Stars (ASAS), an American non-profit organization that provides comprehensive after-school programs to children in thirteen US cities. Bryant also started the Kobe Bryant China Fund which partnered with the Soong Ching Ling Foundation, a charity backed by the Chinese government. The Kobe Bryant China Fund raises money within China earmarked for education and health programs. On November 4, 2010, Bryant appeared alongside Zach Braff at the Call of Duty: Black Ops launch event at the Santa Monica Airport, where they presented a $1 million check to the Call of Duty Endowment, an Activision-founded nonprofit organization that helps veterans transition to civilian careers after their military service has ended.Bryant established Kobe Inc. to own and grow brands in the sports industry. The initial investment was a 10% stake in the Bodyarmor SuperDrink company for $6 million in March 2014. The headquarters are in Newport Beach, California. With The Coca-Cola Company purchasing a minority stake in the company in August 2018, the valuation of Bryant’s stake rose to approximately $200 million.
In 2018, Bryant became the first African American to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and the first former professional athlete to be nominated and to win an Academy Award in any category for his film Dear Basketball.
At 9:06 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on January 26, 2020, a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter owned by Bryant departed from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, with nine people aboard: Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna (Gigi), Gigi’s peers and their parents (including Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli; his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa; Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton), basketball coach Christina Mauser, and the pilot Ara Zobayan. The helicopter was registered to the Fillmore-based Island Express Holding Corp., according to the California Secretary of State business database. The group was travelling to Bryant’s Mamba Academy for a practice session when the helicopter crashed in Calabasas.
Due to light rain and foggy weather that morning, the LAPD helicopters and most other air traffic were grounded. The flight tracker shows that the helicopter experienced issues while above the L.A. Zoo. The helicopter circled the area six times at an altitude of around 850 feet (260 m). At 9:30 a.m. the pilot contacted the Burbank Airport’s control tower, notifying the tower of the situation. At that time, the helicopter experienced extreme fog and turned south towards the mountains. At 9:40 a.m. the helicopter climbed in altitude from 1,200 to 2,000 feet (370 to 610 m) flying at 161 knots (298 km/h; 185 mph).
At 9:45 a.m. the helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain in Calabasas, about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and caught on fire. At 9:47 a.m. authorities were called. The helicopter had passed over Boyle Heights, near Dodger Stadium, and circled over Glendale during the flight. Personnel from the Los Angeles County Fire Department attended the scene. The fire had been extinguished by 10:30 a.m. None of the nine occupants survived. Initial reports indicated that the helicopter crashed in the hills above Calabasas in heavy fog. Witnesses reported hearing a helicopter struggling before crashing.
The surviving Bryant family members are Vanessa and three remaining daughters.
It seems like the world kind of paused when the announcement was (prematurely) made of Kobe’s death. Then there was a shameful shuffle by those of us who don’t trust one news site. I needed corroboration before I could even begin to believe that Kobe Bryant had passed away. I say it’s shameful because I can remember a time in my life that if something was on the news, it had been vetted and could be trusted. This fucked up 24-hour news cycle and the ambulance chasers (like TMZ) have made retractions par for the course. This story is no different- first 5 people were killed, then reports of all of his daughters being on the helicopter, then 7 people- it is absolutely SHAMEFUL- damn near CRIMINAL- to be reporting things before the family is notified. All of this scrambling and false reporting just to be able to say “We were first.” True Crime: By the Book would like to offer condolences to the families and friends of the victims and issue indictments to the media for being soulless.
Now, let’s dig into the topic of today’s episode, Aaron Hernandez.
The documentary outlines his early life, his college years, and finally his time in the NFL. It also indicates that he may have been living a triple life. At the heart of it all, it raises the questions could he have been helped? Could some of his behavior be a byproduct of being raised in an abusive environment? Did football contribute to his violent behavior? These questions are really left to the viewer and I absolutely have my own opinions on Aaron. Just know, that you may not agree with me and that’s okay. There needs to be a dialogue. Because discussing and debating this Aaron Hernandez may prevent another one from being created.
Okay, so we start at the beginning- Aaron and his older brother DJ were being raised in Bristol, Connecticut by their father Dennis and mother Terri. Dennis is kind of a local legend in football so there’s no surprise that his boys were introduced to the sport early. Dennis is described as a “man’s man” very hyper-masculine. He was strict on his boys. Known around as the King, DJ and Aaron were his heirs apparent. They may as well had been William and Harry as far as he was concerned. They were being primed to step in his oversized footprints. That meant playing football and being outstanding at it. Well, Aaron was outstanding in football- and basketball, and track. An all-around athlete but a mediocre student. It was the latter that would cause his father to become physically abusive to Aaron. He wanted the best for his boys, and mediocrity wasn’t going to cut it. It’s also noted that Dennis and Terri had a tumultuous relationship that included alcoholism and domestic violence. Besides all that, Aaron still idolized his dad. His brother, DJ, has stated that besides the physical abuse, Aaron may have also been sexually molested by an older kid. These are things that, left unaddressed, could turn a man into a monster.
We meet the high school quarterback/friend of Aaron and he admits that they had sexually experimented with one another throughout high school. His father was in the documentary as well and talked at length about how both he and Dennis were extremely homophobic. According to him, they had created an environment that made it impossible for the boys to question their sexuality or to identify as anything but heterosexual. I’m sure we can imagine the conflict that this can create in a person who does has questions. This likely added to the anxieties of being a teenager.
After DJ left for college, Aaron was excited to announce that he intended on going to UCONN with his brother- again, following in the footsteps of dear old dad. And then tragedy struck the Hernandez family. Dennis had surgery on a hernia and passed away afterward. Totally unexpected, the family was understandably grief-stricken. Family and friends knew that Aaron would never be the same. His dad, as rough as he was, was Aaron’s moral compass. Without him, Aaron seemed directionless. I’m sure it didn’t help that Terri rebounded rather quickly and it really fucked me up when I heard that she had begun seeing Aaron’s cousin’s husband! Not only that, she moved him into the family home. Now imagine being an already troubled young man who just lost his father. Now you have to deal with a dude you saw all the time with your cousin banging your mom. That drove Aaron out of the home, to his cousin Tonya’s house.
A lot has been said about Tonya being there for Aaron, how he felt like she was a mother figure who he could tell anything. But, in my estimation, Tonya had the “anything goes” house. Everybody comes there to chill, smoke weed, niggas running in and out, eat, and do everything you don’t want going on at YOUR house. So, she may have been loyal but she was also an enabler. Here this young man was free to openly engage in things that he should have at least had to sneak to do. One of those things was smoking weed. I don’t have an issue with marijuana- I wish they would legalize it for the WORLD to enjoy- but not minors. I’m sorry, I just don’t think they are equipped to handle the side effects of marijuana consumption and the ability of the drug to kind of take over your life. I know what he was trying to achieve- he wanted to dull the pain that life was handing him. Unfortunately, when he sobered up that pain was still there. So he spent the majority of his life- from 16 years old on- HIGH. He still was a first-class athlete, though, so people tended to overlook his negatives. I can empathize with him in this way- I was 12 when my mother passed away. I was very smart and athletic and had never been in trouble at school. But when she passed away, I began to get in fights. I was angry all the time. I got suspended quite a bit. Do you know what straightened out my behavior? The principal, Mr. Reese, heard me using some language that would make Samuel L. Jackson blush. He and my coach dragged me down to the office and gave me the come to Jesus speech. If I intended to continue to represent Lew Wallace High School and the mighty black and gold as an athlete, I could not have another behavior blemish on my record. PERIOD. Being on the honor roll wasn’t going to be enough- because, frankly, that came easy to me. I had to learn to direct my anger in healthy ways, admit that I was still hurting from the loss of my mom, not be impulsive. And I wanted to continue to play sports with my band of sisters, so I straightened up my act.
But, Aaron was learning the opposite lesson. He could do damn near anything and the fact that he was an outstanding athlete was a get out of jail free card. There were no repercussions for bad behavior, only coverups. Once again, Aaron’s fucked up behavior was being enabled.
His prowess on the gridiron meant that a number of Division-I Universities were interested in him as a player. Remember Aaron had already made a verbal commitment to UConn. He still made other college visits, however. When Aaron was just shy of 17 years old he re-committed. This time he chose to play at the University of Florida alongside Tim Tebow and under Urban Meyer. By now, he was dating Shayanna Jenkins who he had known since elementary school. Dennis Hernandez had set a path for his sons to follow. Aaron was departing that path and heading to Florida.
There are so many reasons that this decision was problematic. The main one was the football program under Meyer. I mean, he is an excellent general. If all you cared about was winning and bowl appearances, he’s your man. But as far as guidance to the players- uh-uh. Nope. Aaron failed multiple drug tests- covered up. He took bullshit courses. He was frequenting bars (at 17 years old) and in April 2007 he even punched a bar manager when he was asked to pay his tab. That disappeared. Of course, he stayed high because- childhood trauma. He was playing alongside Tim Tebow who literally wore his religion on his face (but riddle me this- was still at the bar with underaged Aaron).
I save most of my ire for Urban Meyer, though. He established quite a pattern in Florida. Every season there were arrests, infractions of rules, and players who demonstrated horrible character that was left unpunished. That “win at all costs” mentality was a terrible disservice to these young men and the community that they inhabited. There was none worse than Aaron Hernandez. While on scholarship at the University of Florida he frequented many night spots. It was not unusual for him to get easily angered at perceived slights, and on more than one occasion he was described as “paranoid”. It was in September of 2007 that Aaron would be first accused of pulling a gun on people and actually shooting them. The victims were in a vehicle at a light when “a large male who appeared to be Hawaiian or Hispanic with lots of tattoos” approached the car. These guys in the car had a verbal altercation with Aaron in the nightclub and chose him out of a photo lineup as the shooter. They later said that he wasn’t the shooter- that was after the university and Meyer got involved. Remember- this is a college town. Winning over EVERYTHING! Aaron was sleep in an interrogation room while the school’s attorney’s worked their magic. Now, I don’t know about you, but I watched the Usual Suspects- many times. In the film, the police detective is attempting to suss out a killer. What does he do? He locks them up overnight and observes. The one who can sleep is the killer. This is a 1995 movie that still holds up (except for the whole Kevin Spacey thing), but I digress. Here this 18 year old kid is able to sleep when he’s in a police interrogation room- not for stealing candy, or getting into a fight- for assault with a deadly weapon at the least and attempted murder at most. But, if he did this he got away with shooting two men. The school knew about this but continued to roll with Aaron because he was a beast at his position. An absolute BEAST. He remained a Gator for three seasons and finished his college career with 111 receptions for 1,382 yards and twelve touchdowns. He won the John Mackey award as the nations best tight end. He also was an All-American and All SEC. But, he was not welcome to play his senior season and was encouraged to enter the NFL draft.
At 20 years old, Aaron declared that he was ready to move to the next level of play- he was going to be a professional football player but for whom? His reputation on the field was diminished by his off the field antics. Teams would really be rolling the dice by choosing this loose cannon. He should have gone late in the first round or early in the second. But teams continued to pass on him until, in the fourth round with the 113th pick he was chosen by the Patriots. This lucky fuck was going to play with arguably the best QB in the league- Tom Brady. But the Pats wanted to talk to Urban Meyer before they signed him. And Urban- with ABSOLUTELY nothing to lose by telling the truth- still gave his endorsement. Don’t for one second think that I feel sorry for the Patriots organization, I kind of feel sorry for Aaron in this moment. Because this professionally ideal situation was the worse thing that could have happened to him personally. I listen to a podcast- Crime In Sports with James Petrogallo and Jimmy Whisman. It’s a great show, lots of laughs- but damn near every episode they talk about athletes getting into trouble when they go to wherever they consider “home”. Well, Aaron would be playing two hours away from “home” and for a person with many demons and as socially immature as him- well this is where it all REALLY goes to shit. I know this is going to be fucked up- but tune in to True Crime By The Book next week so we can talk about what the hell Aaron gets into during his time at Foxborough. If you enjoy what I’m doing here, please leave a rating and review for the show on your platform of choice. Check the show notes for my linktree- those are all the many places I can be found. Shit really gets wild in the next episode, so tell a friend to tell a friend. Thanks for hanging with me and I’ll catch you in part two of Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez. Later Bookworms!
Tidings and salutations bibliophiles! Welcome to episode 15 of True Crime By The Book. We get together here once a week to chat about books, movies, and documentaries that center on true crime. I am the Librarian and your host, Tasha Pierce. This week we finish our discussion on Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez. If you like the episode please share both parts with a friend, acquaintance, or loved one so I can blow up. I’d also appreciate ratings and reviews on your platform of choice. I’ve got a couple of shout outs for the end of the episode from Apple, Facebook, and Podchaser. But right now, I think we should pick up with the downfall of Aaron Hernandez.
Throughout the series, we hear excerpts from conversations that disgraced NFL star Aaron Hernandez had with the people closest to him. Of course, being a guest of any prison comes with a total lack of privacy. The calls in and out are recorded and we get to be a fly on the wall when Aaron spoke with his agent, his mom Teri, his cousin Tonya, and his fiancee Shayanna. The calls that were featured in the series offers a little insight into the mindset of Hernandez. They also give us a glimpse of the relationships that he had with these people.
I spoke about Teri in the first episode. Her husband Dennis passed away unexpectedly after having hernia surgery. Before her 15-year-old son could even begin learning to live without his dad, she moved her new beau into the family home. This would have been difficult enough, but the new boyfriend was no stranger. He was the husband of Aaron’s cousin, Tonya. This turn of events alienated Aaron from his mom and brought him and Tonya even closer. We hear Aaron discussing her decisions and how they affected him. It was both heartbreaking and sickening to hear- he was so frustrated that he couldn’t share secrets with his mom because she would tell others. It is obvious that he lacked a basic trust in her. He also prophesied that “she would die without even knowing her son”. He was only half right
He spoke to Shayanna very often, as well. By this time she had mothered a daughter with Aaron. It seems like she was very in love with Aaron and his imprisonment was weighing quite heavily on her. There were days that she had to talk when she probably would have rather been crying. She gave him solid advice and talked him out of responding to situations with anger. He also got to talk to his daughter during these calls. He made it very clear to Shayanna that he was positive he would be beating his case. She seemed to be a little more realistic about his fate, but she didn’t rain on his parade.
All this talk about Aaron behind bars, but we still haven’t discussed how he got there. That’s where we are introduced to Odin Lloyd. Odin was a semi-pro football player. Semi-pro basically means that the amount players are compensated would not be enough to live on. In fact, Odin’s teammate said they paid to play. These are guys that really are just playing for the love of the game. And Odin was a stellar semi-pro player. That’s one thing he had in common with Aaron, love of the game. They would cross paths again for their OTHER loves- Aaron’s fiancee Shayanna and Odin’s girlfriend Shaneah are sisters. They were close which means Odin and Aaron became close by default. One more similarity between the guys was their love of Mary Jane. Both were smokers, Odin was known as the “blunt master” for his talent at rolling marijuana cigars. The ladies would hang out while the guys would have sessions in Aaron’s mancave. We can only assume that Odin and Aaron began to share more than marijuana and they would occasionally go out together.
This is how they came to be together in the early morning hours of June 17, 2013. Aaron and two of his friends from the hood- the real hood- went to pick Odin up at his sister’s home. When he got in the car, he texted his sister:
Did you see who I’m with? Followed by: NFL- just so you know.
Right now those texts seem ominous as fuck but at the moment his sister thought he might be bragging that he was hanging with an NFL star. In June 2013, that’s who Aaron Hernandez was- a STAR. Fresh off a Super Bowl appearance at the young age of 22, Aaron had proven to be one of the premier tight ends in the NFL. He was rewarded with a contract that would be worth $40mill over 5 years. This was beyond lucrative- it was insane! That contract alone represented 40 million reasons for Aaron to stay out of trouble, which makes it downright confounding that he didn’t. Because, not only did Aaron continue to go to night clubs (which triggered his paranoia), smoke weed (which could create professional issues), and hang with the boys from the hood- he was about to commit murder.
No one can REALLY know what happened in those hours, but the next day Odin was missing. He and Aaron had plans to join their girlfriends for Father’s Day Brunch but Odin was a no-show. Later that evening, his remains were found by a jogger who then called police. Odin’s body was found in a gravel pit- the pit is located less than a mile from Aaron Hernandez’s home. These guys had to be the biggest idiots ever. Aaron didn’t live in a modest 3 bedroom. He had a MANSION. A mile from a house that size may as well be in its backyard. Then the morons left evidence that included DNA in the form of a half-smoked blunt at the scene.
It wasn’t hard to come to the conclusion that Aaron and his friends Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace were involved in Odin’s murder. On June 26, 2013, Aaron was arrested at his home. Less than two hours later, the Patriots cut him.
This is where I tell you about how shitty the business end of the NFL can be.
We heard Aaron in one phone call talk about banned substances in the NFL (not just marijuana, but certain pain killers that were also considered illegal drugs per the NFL standards). He spoke about how hypocritical the league is because every Sunday the team doctors were injecting him full of those illegal drugs. Anything it takes to win, right? Also, Aaron asked to be traded because he was in fear for his and his family’s lives. Belichick and Kraft said, “Nah- how about we set you up in an apartment where you can lay low?” Of course, there’s a story behind why Aaron was fearful and I’ll get to it once I’m through dragging the Patriots organization. I know he was under contract, but if a kid wants to be traded from a perennial playoff contender, wouldn’t you want to look into that? WHY would you want to be traded? For Aaron, it was allegedly because he shot one of his best friends in the face and left him for dead. Imagine his shock when, on Valentine’s Day 2013, he received a call from Alexander Bradley- the man he had apparently tried to kill. Bradley was very much alive and pissed- I guess that’s understandable when someone literally wanted you dead. He wasn’t cooperating with police, either. He never intended to out Aaron as the shooter. He wanted revenge, money, or both. So why the fuck did Aaron shoot him? His constant friend, paranoia, required it. See, there was another case we haven’t yet discussed. Oh yeah, the cases are just PILING up. In this case, on July 16, 2012, Aaron allegedly was at the usual place that filled him with anxiety- the nightclub- when someone had the nerve, gall, and intestinal fortitude to ACCIDENTALLY spill a drink on him. Upon leaving the club, Aaron and Bradley saw the guys involved in the incident. Instead of asking them to pay his dry cleaning bill, it is alleged that Aaron rolled up on them and said, “What’s up now, niggas” and began shooting into their car. Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu, 29, and Safiro Teixeira Furtado, 28, were hit in the hail of bullets. They both died from their injuries. The only person who could finger Aaron as the shooter was Bradley- so, killing him would be the way to eliminate the only witness.
Well, he had no idea that there would be surveillance footage of a vehicle that looked remarkably like his leaving the scene of the crime- more on that a little later.
So, the Patriots could have and should have looked further into Aaron’s request and the timing of it and easily deduced that Aaron was involved in some top tier bullshit. They went the route of plausible deniability. I fucking hate the fact that these players are like chess pieces that the organization “owns”. When you own something valuable you don’t want anyone else to get it. So they were overlooking the failed drug tests, his incompatibility with the locker room, and the GLARING character flaws because they owned him. As long as he’s useful to us, we are going to continue playing him. The entire Patriots organization has the blood of Odin Lloyd on their hands because Stevie Wonder could see that this kid was troubled.
I call him a kid- he was 23 when the shit hit the fan. Yes, he was technically an adult. He was absolutely RICH beyond my wildest dreams. He was also socially immature (per the Patriots’ own scouting report). He needed guidance. Actually, later on, we find out he needed even more than that.
It’s like he found peace behind bars. Listening to the phone calls with Shayanna, it was clear that she was the adult in the room. He had affection for her and their daughter, but they weren’t enough for him to make better choices. And his mom was literally fussing at him about not giving her a million dollars while he was locked up- she didn’t understand that a $40mill contract does not mean that he has $40mill today. But, of all the damn things to be worried about, why are you worried about that? He wasn’t getting that money. The Patriots were doing everything in their power to not pay his signing bonus, so you know that they weren’t going to be paying any part of his contract. Even though those bastards knew he was thugging and looked the other way- but I’m making this about New England when it’s really about how fucked up Aaron Hernandez is.
He strolled into court looking devastatingly handsome and just a little bit scared. Just a little. He blew kisses to his daughter. He seemed normal. That’s a scary thing, how normal he seemed. Shayanna sat with Aaron’s family. Her sister sat with Odin’s family. Once so close, now they were estranged because Shayanna stood by her man. Also never wavering in her support was Tonya- who by now was battling cancer. While I thought the activities she condoned at her home played some part in Aaron’s delinquency, she without a doubt loved him. Remember the other murders that Aaron was thought to have committed? I said a vehicle that looked very much like his showed up in surveillance video. He was known to drive a silver SUV that -poof- vanished! Well, that vehicle was finally located- it was in the garage at Tonya’s. And try as they may, prosecutors could not get her to cooperate with their investigation. She even stared down being charged with contempt without blinking. The judge didn’t blink either when he sentenced her to jail time despite the fact that this woman would miss her cancer treatments if she got locked up. She ended up making bail after 196 days. I don’t want to go into all her cases and such, but she was a ride or die. She did the jail time, plead guilty rather than answer questions, missed precious days with her children for Aaron. She continued battling cancer until passing away in October of 2015.
Do I really need to give you a blow by blow of the court proceedings in the Lloyd case? Good- I’ll just say Robert Kraft’s old evil, two-faced ass testified. Did I really just say that? I don’t even know Mr. Kraft- but I do know his organization is always in the midst of a cheating scandal, I DO know that he’s shaking in his boots because THE Patriot, Tom Brady, is dipping his toe into free agency. I also know that he allegedly likes a happy ending. There was very powerful testimony from Odin Lloyd’s mom as she held back tears. Shayanna got up there and lied- and she is also considered a ride or die chick. I think she was misguided. Tanya Singleton showed the world that it was family over everything, and she had her cousin’s back. In the meantime, Shayanna’s family- her sister- was sitting on the opposite side of the courtroom mourning the loss of her boyfriend at the hands of YOUR boyfriend.
At the end of it all, Aaron is found guilty in the death of Odin Lloyd. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was acquitted of the murders of Furtado and de Abreu. So, now his focus was on assisting his attorney with appeals. He and Shayanna were being hopeful for their future. That is, until a Kirk and Callahan radio show appearance by a reporter named Michele McPhee. There she and the hosts suggested that Aaron was a closeted homosexual. Two days later, Aaron would be found hanging in his cell, dead from an apparent suicide. He had left three letters- one to Shayanna,, one to his daughter, and one that is rumored to have been to his prison lover. There was a Bible opened to John 3:16, and that verse was also written on his forehead. There is much speculation that he could not live with the world knowing his deepest secret. But an evaluation of Aaron’s brain after his death may shed light on all of his impulsive and violent behaviors.
That exam proved that Aaron at 27 had one of the worst cases of CTE ever studied even at his young age. There was a considerable amount of damage, thought to have come from sustaining head injuries while playing football. Unfortunately, the degenerative brain disease can only be diagnosed at autopsy.
According to a July 2017 article published in Sports Illustrated:
A study by Boston University researcher Dr. Ann McKee examined the brains of 202 deceased football players and found that 110 of the 111 brains of former NFL players had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The brains were donated by families of former NFL players who showed signs of the disease. The study was not conducted on a set of random former NFL players, and Dr. McKee notes “tremendous selection bias” in the samples.
“It is no longer debatable whether or not there is a problem in football—there is a problem,” Dr. McKee said, according to the New York Times.
High school players in the study had mild cases while college and professionals had more severe cases. CTE was found in 177 of the 202 brains.
The disease can cause impaired judgment, aggression, memory loss, and depression. CTE can only be diagnosed postmortem.
The study examined players as young as 23 years old and as old as 89. The brains were also from all player positions including 44 linemen, 10 linebackers, 17 defensive backs, and seven quarterbacks.
Former NFL Hall of Famer Ken Stabler was among the brains after he asked that he be examined when he was battling colon cancer. McKee determined that Stabler had a “moderately severe” case of CTE.
The family of the only NFL player without CTE did not authorize for Dr. McKee to publicly identify him.
The NFL issued the following statement to SI.com:
“We appreciate the work done by Dr. McKee and her colleagues for the value it adds in the ongoing quest for a better understanding of CTE. Case studies such as those compiled in this updated paper are important to further advance the science and progress related to head trauma. The medical and scientific communities will benefit from this publication and the NFL will continue to work with a wide range of experts to improve the health of current and former NFL athletes. As noted by the authors, there are still many unanswered questions relating to the cause, incidence, and prevalence of long-term effects of head trauma such as CTE. The NFL is committed to supporting scientific research into CTE and advancing progress in the prevention and treatment of head injuries.
In 2016, the NFL pledged $100 million in support of independent medical research and engineering advancements in neuroscience-related topics. This is in addition to the $100 million that the NFL and its partners are already spending on medical and neuroscience research.”
Last year, Jeff Miller, the NFL’s senior vice president for health and safety, testified before the House of Representatives and was asked by Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky whether he thinks “there is a link between football and degenerative brain disorders like CTE.”
“The answer to that question is certainly yes,” Miller responded.
BY CHRIS CHAVEZ
With that answer comes another question: What is the NFL prepared to do to ensure players get the help they need when and if they begin to show symptoms?
Because the Florida Gators turned their backs on Aaron and sent him to the league. The league turned a blind eye, enabled, and discarded him like trash. And he had been playing the sport since early childhood, with an uber-masculine father who may have celebrated his son’s toughness when he sustained damaging hits.
There was a former player who made the observation that head injuries don’t cause anyone to become a murderer. I’m not qualified to make this assumption, but I will make it anyway- It is proven that head injuries can result in brain damage and that damage may increase an individual’s likelihood to be impulsive and destructive. If there are murderous thoughts they are amplified by the damage. Does that mean that I think Aaron should have been let off the hook? Hell no! But I do believe that his repeated blows to the head should have been considered in sentencing. I also believe that other athletes with a history of severe head trauma who went on to have a cognitive decline should have been presented as examples of what type of difficulties Aaron may have faced. I believe the Patriots should have been sued in civil court for the wrongful death of Odin Lloyd, based on the knowledge that Aaron had approached them about a trade due to death threats.
Don’t mistake me for being anti-NFL either. I absolutely LOVE the sport, but I do realize that in the US football worship has gone too far. When the sport is known to be potentially dangerous to the athletes, it is imperative to take all the preventative actions necessary to mitigate the danger. I’m not sure what that looks like but I think a good start is to rethink PeeWee and Pop Warner for the little kids. I also think that players should be able to understand and accept the risks when they play on any level- which means that tackle football would have to wait until the teenage years. And for professionals, organizations need to be about the players’ well-being. They need to staff professionals who can identify changes to behavior in athletes and be prepared to make a player medically unfit to play if they display classic symptoms of severe brain damage. While they’re at it, they can protect and respect a player’s right to peaceful protest, but I digress.
Aaron led a triple life- he was at the same time an insanely talented athlete, a sexually confused young man, and a cold-blooded murderer.
He was let down in so many ways by so many people. He also destroyed many lives with his actions. His sexuality should not have been that big of a story (he did protest too much about homosexuality and transgender women, doesn’t mean he should have been “outed”). I just wish he would have gotten help sooner because this sensational and salacious story may have never happened if he did.
There, of course, was so much more to this documentary than I could cover in two half-hour episodes so I highly recommend that you watch the Netflix series Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez. Also, peep the bit players and let me know if you think that a couple of them were propping themselves up with their appearance in the series. I don’t know- I just got a bad vibe.
Anywho- that’s my take on what happened. As promised, I have a couple of shoutouts for leaving me a 5-star review. You can get a shout just by sending a favorable review on your platform of choice. I will leave my linktree in the description so you can see all the wonderful places I can be found including TCbyTB.com.
This week I’m saying thanks to Melanie, Joel, and XOTori21 for putting a BIG smile on my face! Thank you all for being a part of my audience.
Until next week, tell a friend to tell a friend- our numbers are growing! Don’t let them be left out of this expanding community. That’s it. Thank you for joining me this week on True Crime: By the Book. Rate, review, and share! Later bookworms!
Sources and Shit
Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez
Tidings and salutations bibliophages! Welcome back to True Crime: By The Book. Every week we discuss a new book, movie, or documentary related to true crime. I’m your host- the Librarian- Tasha Pierce. I appreciate all the ratings, reviews, and feedback that I’ve been receiving. Keep it coming! If you’d like to help the show, please leave a rating or review on the platform of your choice. This week we are digging into Randy Roth by way of Carlton Smith’s book, Fatal Charm. So, let’s dig into the author’s bio, shall we?
An award-winning journalist for The Los Angeles Times and The Seattle Times during the 1970s and 1980s, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting in 1988. His books include Mind Games, Cold Blooded, The Prom Night Murders, Cold as Ice and In the Arms of Evil. There are more than two million copies of his books in print.
We know we’re in good hands with Smith, and he has teamed up with a stellar narrator in Keith Sellon-Wright. He delivers the text with passion and enthusiasm and kept me engaged.
That’s the author and narrator, short and succinct- which means there’s more time to unpack the story. Here is the summary from Fatal Charm:
Smith, a prize-winning reporter for The Seattle Times, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting for his coverage of the Green River Killer case. Now he reveals the shocking true story of serial wife-killer Randy Roth, the alluring, handsome man who was caught after his fourth wife “accidentally” drowned.
Once again, a description that is short and sweet. Tells us enough to help us decide if we’re interested. And of course, I’m interested.
This is the story of a man who knew what women wanted, and he delivered. He was born on Dec. 26, 1954 into a family that would ultimately consist of five children. Lizbeth and Gordon Roth were the parents in a dysfunctional home. The atmosphere was patriarchal with zero tolerance of what was considered weak emotions. Randy absolutely worshipped his dad and even sided with him when he and Lizabeth divorced. In 1973, after graduating from high school, Randy enlisted in the Marine Corps. He was an average soldier, but he would embellish his service record in letters that he wrote to his girlfriend at the time. He ended up being discharged after a year because his mom said she needed him home to provide for the family- it is speculated that Randy had grown tired of being a file clerk so his mom bailed him out of completing his service obligation.
When he returned home, he began living with his girlfriend, Teri. Her family allowed them to reside in a home they owned. It was at this time that Teri discovered that he was seeing another woman named Donna. Teri eventually had enough of Randy and broke things off with him. Even though Randy was as wrong as two left shoes, he gave Teri and her family HELL after the breakup. He broke into the home of her parents, stealing and vandalizing. Teri went to the police and informed them that Randy was responsible for the break-in at her parents and she also gave them information on an unsolved robbery at a convenience store. She told them that the perp was Randy, who had robbed the store in order to give her money for an abortion after an unwanted pregnancy. This occurred shortly before he left for basic training. This was the first known instance of Randy using illegal means to come into money. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be the last.
Randy served two whole weeks in jail for the burglary of Teri’s parents’ home. Before long he married Donna and in 1978 they welcomed a baby boy to the family. Shortly after that, Donna was shown the exit. Randy divorced her and took custody of their son.
Randy was considered “1970s hot”. Think Magnum PI. So it wasn’t very difficult for him to get back in the dating arena. In fact, this is where he meets Janis Miranda. He wooed her with his charm and wowed her with stories of his military service. In these fairy tales, Randy spoke of death surrounding him, women and children being slaughtered, him being a killing machine in the jungles of Viet Nam. He claimed to suffer from flashbacks of his service and that he was a very dangerous man. In fact, when they would meet up with friends who really did see combat, he would regale in these stories while they wondered why he would want to constantly relive these nightmares. That was a problem that Randy didn’t know he had. He seemed to actually be proud of the things that most real combat veterans wanted to forget.
In March of 1981, Randy and Janis married. They bought a home and got insured to the gills. Randy said that he wanted her to have the security of knowing that the home would be paid for if tragedy ever befell him- you know, because he was so scarred from his imaginary time in Nam. The day after Thanksgiving of 1981, Randy and Janis decided to go hiking on Beacon Rock Trail. This was a roughly two-mile trail that is considered a moderate level hike. Randy and Janis had separated from the throng of hikers on the trail. It was then that Janis went close to the edge, lost her footing, and plummeted over 300 feet. Randy was spotted going back and forth before pleading with others to assist him in finding his wife. The authorities were called but by the time they got to Janis, she was dead. Although Randy’s statement was doubted, there was no real evidence tying him to her death. The following day, before notifying Janis’ family and friends of her death, he arranged to have her cremated and cashed in on her life insurance policy. That would be $100k in 1981 currency equal to just over 280K today.
In 1985, Roth met and married a second Donna- single mother Donna Clift. He followed the same pattern of charming, proposing, marrying, and becoming a massive asshole after the wedding. He also talked Donna into getting a huge life insurance policy yadda yadda yadda. Then one day, when they were rafting, Donna was terrified when it seemed that he was intentionally heading into rough water. She survived the incident and got the fuck out of Dodge. That’s 2 Donna’s that escaped what seemed like Randy’s death trap.
He met another woman, Mary Jo Phillips. He didn’t marry her because she was a cancer survivor. Cancer is rarely a lucky thing, but in this case, Mary Jo dodged the bullet because no insurance policy would cover her. She wouldn’t be beneficial to Randy financially, so he was on to the next.
The next turned out to be Cynthia Baumgartner, a recently widowed young mother of two boys. Her first husband had passed away after being diagnosed with Hodgkins. He had benefits that left his wife and children taken care of. This seemed to be an ideal situation for Randy. He swooped in and charmed who would turn out to be his fourth wife. She was unaware that she would be the next wife to die so Randy could get his money right.
Take a break for a word from this week’s sponsor
Before they had even been married a year, Cynthia and Randy went out on Lake Sammamish with their raft. After a few hours, Randy returned at a very nonchalant pace with an unconscious Cynthia. He claimed that she had fallen in the water and he had to rescue her. The lifeguard on scene tried to resuscitate Cynthia to no avail. Her children watched as the paramedics arrived to work on their lifeless mother and they began to cry. Randy was attempting to deflate the raft- seemingly unconcerned about the fate of his wife. That’s the thing about psychopathic murderers. They just don’t know how to perform as if they have emotions unless they have experiences to emulate from. Randy’s upbringing didn’t afford him any opportunities to practice emotions. He simply didn’t know how to even PRETEND to give a fuck.
In fact, a witness stated that he told Cynthia’s sons to stop crying. How do you expect children to react to watching their mother die? It was just noise to him. He couldn’t empathize with their feelings. He took the boys to eat, went home, and probably dreamed about the 400K he stood to gain from Cynthia’s insurance policy. Not to mention, he had her boys- which meant he also would have access to her first husband’s survivor’s benefits. Except, through all his controlling and abuse, Cynthia had the foresight to make her best friend the caretaker of her children in the case of her untimely death. That was a wrench in Randy’s program, but he was still set on a huge life insurance payout plus proceeds from selling their home.
In the meantime, King County police investigators were slowly building a case against this piece of crap. They recreated the series of events that led to Cynthia’s demise according to Randy’s statement and- SURPRISE- the shit couldn’t have happened that way. Then statements from witnesses on the beach when Cynthia was receiving CPR noted that Randy gave zero fucks about anything. Co-workers came out saying that Randy was utterly disgusted by Cynthia and was counting down the days before their “contract” ended at the one year anniversary. Of course, before this day arrived his wife was already dead and cremated. There were many other disgusting acts by Randy during this “time of grief” that I will leave out for those who want to read the book.
Of course, he was taken to trial in the murder of Cynthia Roth. He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison and an additional year for theft. He is eligible for parole in 2029- so be careful who you swipe right on in 2030! Also, sadly, the first Donna remained convinced that Randy is innocent and that he was a good husband. I’ll remind you- he divorced her and took their child with no explanation. The bar is set really low for “good husbands”.
And this is where I’ll leave the story with my thoughts. First of all- women, we have to be vigilant. It was far easier to be bamboozled in the early ‘90s, but let’s not act like this isn’t still a thing. Dirty John, anyone? And if you aren’t sure what I’m referring to there is a FANTASTIC podcast, Netflix movie, and a couple of documentaries detailing THAT case. We need to KEEP a network of friends, associates, and loved ones who need to be empowered to tell it like it is when it comes to new men in our lives. If the relationship is moving too fast, it’s okay to pump the brakes. If things seem too good to be true be cautiously optimistic. Because a Randy Roth won’t have the patience to deal with a woman who is taking her time to make sure he is who he says he is. Also, if there are too many mysteries- Randy was known for not disclosing his age, not being interested in sex, and the horrible LIES that he told about Viet Nam- these kinds of mysteries should make us ask, “What does he have to hide?” And then Donna- what the heck is your issue? This man is either the most unlucky husband on the planet or he is skilled at picking unlucky women. And she was clearly only good enough to carry his male child- he didn’t trust her to RAISE him. So, how could you back a man who thinks you aren’t shit?
There are so many other tangents that I could go on with this case but I’ll just encourage you to read the book and let me know your thoughts! You can always share feedback at TCbyTB@gmail.com. You can also find me on social media on all the things- TCbyTB. I do have a patreon and would love for someone to be my first donor at patreon.com/TCbyTB. I need to keep a stash of munchies and other edibles (wink, wink) for recording days! Next week- we gotta discuss Aaron Hernandez! Netflix has released a documentary Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez and we MUST talk about it! That has the potential to be a two-part episode. The next book on the docket is Solitary by Albert Woodfox in case you want to read it beforehand.
As promised, I’ve got two new reviews that really lifted my spirits this week:
Thank you to NickRich5737 and fledanow from Canada for your wonderful reviews! Thanks for listening guys! If you’d like to make my week, leave a rating and review on your platform of choice. I’ll shout you out on a future episode. With that, I thank you for joining me for episode 13 and I hope you meet me here next week. Later bookworms!
In March, I will be featuring “The Most Dangerous Animal of All” by Gary Stewart on the podcast. I wanted to give you a heads up in case you wanted to read along. Does this book reveal the identity of The Zodiac Killer? Can’t wait to discuss!
Tidings and salutations, bibliophages! Thanks for joining me on True Crime by the Book. Every week we will discuss a true crime that has been featured in books, documentaries, or biopics. I’m your hostess with the most, Tasha Pierce. Today’s book is Evidence of Love, by John Bloom and Jim Atkinson. Before we jump into that, I want to thank everyone who has left a review for the podcast. I will be giving you all a special shout at the end of the show. For those of you who haven’t gotten around to it, it’s never too late! In fact, you can go to Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, Facebook- leave a review today. It really helps the show and I can shout you out on a future episode.
Now, let’s get into Evidence of Love! In case you haven’t read the book and plan to I’m issuing a SPOILER WARNING! I will be describing the case, and a few listeners thought it would be a good idea if I said SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS!! With that out of the way, I’ll give you some background about the authors courtesy of their bio.
John Bloom- John Bloom is a journalist and entertainer born in Dallas, Texas, who grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, and now lives in New York City.
While serving as New York bureau chief for United Press International, he was an eyewitness to the events of 9/11 and was nominated by UPI for the Pulitzer Prize. His work for Texas Monthly magazine has been nominated three times for the National Magazine Award, and he has written for dozens of newspapers and magazines, as well as being a columnist for the New York Times Syndicate, the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, and Creators Syndicate. He graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University, where he was a Grantland Rice Scholar for his work as a teenage reporter and columnist for the Arkansas Democrat. In 1982 he created the pseudonym of “Joe Bob Briggs,” using that pen name anonymously until he was outed in 1985. He then performed under that name on a number of television shows and at live venues, winning two Cable ACE Awards for a show called “Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater” on The Movie Channel and a similar show called “MonsterVision” on TNT.
Jim Atkinson-Jim Atkinson, a contributing editor for TEXAS MONTHLY, has been a working journalist in Texas for over 40 years. He was a courthouse reporter for the Dallas Times Herald and a political correspondent for Dallas KERA-TV Channel 13.’ during the 1970s. In l974, he helped to found D Magazine, the city magazine of Dallas, and worked there for seven years as an editor and writer. In l981, he began writing for TEXAS MONTHLY and other publications including Esquire, Gourmet, GQ, National Review, the New York Times, Playboy, Self, Town and Country and Travel and Leisure. He has won numerous awards for reporting and is the author of two books, Evidence of Love, A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs (Texas Monthly Press, l984) and The View from Nowhere (HarperCollins , l987).
For much of his career, Atkinson wrote about crime and the criminal justice system, until he decided to turn his energies to reporting on health and medical science, primarily in the pages of TEXAS MONTHLY and ESQUIRE. Since then, he has written about everything from the flu to cardiac surgery to sexual addiction, and has won 12 awards for medical reporting. Most recently, he has turned his journalistic attentions to environmental and travel writing.
In the latter category, he has become a regular contributor to the New York Times travel sections.
The description of the book from the jacket cover goes like this:
Edgar Award Finalist: The “sensational” true story of two desperate housewives and the killing that shocked a Texas community (Los Angeles Times Book Review).
Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore had a lot in common: They sang together in the Methodist church choir, their daughters were best friends, and their husbands had good jobs working for technology companies in the north Dallas suburbs known as Silicon Prairie. But beneath the placid surface of their seemingly perfect lives, both women simmered with unspoken frustrations and unanswered desires.
On a hot summer day in 1980, the secret passions and jealousies that linked Candy and Betty exploded into murderous rage. What happened next is usually the stuff of fiction. But the bizarre and terrible act of violence that occurred in Betty’s utility room that morning was all too real.
Based on exclusive interviews with the Montgomery and Gore families, Evidence of Love is the riveting account of a gruesome tragedy and the trial that made national headlines.
Adapted into the Emmy and Golden Globe Award–winning television movie A Killing in a Small Town, this chilling tale of sin and savagery will “fascinate true crime aficionados” (Kirkus Reviews).
Well, in June of 1980 I was a snot-nosed 7-year-old, so this was a brand new case for me. I listened to the audiobook, which 12.5 hours in length. It was narrated by Charles Constant who did an awesome job. His cadence was just right and he didn’t miss a beat when voicing the different characters. I was able to simply listen, without the fingernails on a chalkboard cringiness that I sometimes experience when narrators decide to ham it up with the voice-acting.
If you were around in 1980, you’ll know it was a MUCH simpler time! If you weren’t you gonna learn today. On the radio we heard Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Kool & The Gang, The Police and of course the Boss- Bruce Springsteen. On TV it was The Jeffersons, Magnum PI, The Dukes of Hazard, and of course- Dallas!
Who shot JR was the question on the minds of right around 83 million people that year. But in one Dallas suburb, the question was “Who butchered Betty Gore?”
I can vividly remember in 1980 when two movies that defined a genre debuted on the big screen- Friday the 13th, and the Shining. I’m not certain HOW (possibly a double feature at a drive-in theater) but little sweet and innocent Tasha saw BOTH of these movies. I also saw The Empire Strikes Back that same year. Understand, kids, this was a hell of a time to be alive. I digress- these movies do show up again in the book, and they provide a backdrop to what occurs later in the story. The Gore family lived in Wylie, Texas, which I already mentioned was a suburb of Dallas. The family included Allan and Betty with their two daughters. They were a typical family of the era- dad worked in tech, mom was a teacher, and the children were happy and well-adjusted. They were also active members of Lucas Methodist Church, like many of the families in the community. This was summer in Wylie and the church hosted a vacation bible school to give the children something to do. Betty was off for the summer like the kids, so she sent her older daughter, aged 5, to Bible school with the rest of the children while she stayed home with her infant. All was okay, her daughter would be well looked after by her best friend’s mother and Sunday school teacher, Candy Montgomery. In fact, her daughter would be spending the night at the Montgomery’s home.
Candy Montgomery was married to Pat Montgomery and they also had two children. Pat worked at Texas Instruments and Candy was a stay at home mom. She filled her time with church, housework, and running the children to practices and appointments. As a young woman, this is the life she imagined for herself. Now that she had it she was -in a word- BORED. She had a very vanilla life. She wanted sprinkles. So she engaged in some extramarital foolery for some time prior to this day- June 13th, 1980. You know, a sprinkle here and a sprinkle there. But, Pat found out about her infidelity, and with the help of the church, they were recommitted to their marriage. Today, Candy was teaching at Bible school. It was then that she realized that Betty’s daughter needed a swimsuit for swim practice later. After she taught her class, she would run to the Gore home and pick it up. She also needed to grab a Father’s Day card for her husband, so she planned to stop at Target also. I didn’t know Target was around in 1980. We didn’t have one near me, and I doubt my mom would’ve shopped there because- hell there were 4 of us kids and Target isn’t the CHEAPEST store in the world. Maybe it was in 1980- but I digress.
Candy gets to the Gore home and she and Betty began to chat it up. Just regular shit about the kids until Betty asks Candy if she’s sleeping with her husband. So, yeah- Candy got bored in her marriage so she decided to have an affair. She realized while playing volleyball with Allan in the church league that she wanted to sleep with him. So, she approached Allan Gore and asked him if he’d like to have an affair. But, Allan was fighting the good fight. He loved Betty and didn’t want to hurt her, so he turned Candy’s offer down. She was just like okay- maybe a little disappointed but not the end of the world. I would have been mortified if I was just placing my pootnanny on a silver platter and was turned down, but Candy was just like “On to the next one”. Now, I’m sure you know that there wouldn’t be a twelve-hour book if that was that. Eventually, Allan gave it some thought and made the decision that he indeed wanted to bang Candy with no strings attached. What followed was a vanilla affair. Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla. They telegraphed everything- like every aspect was planned. They’d meet up at a shitty hotel while Allan was on his lunch break. She would pack a picnic-style lunch for them and they would vanilla fuck. They did this on certain vanilla ass days and then play coy when they were all at church. Wasn’t long before Candy got bored of this shit, too, and was on to the next! But now, here is Betty asking about this affair months after candy’s husband found out. Yeah- Pat knew and that’s why he and Candy went to a retreat that the church sponsored to reconnect. Allan and Betty went to this same retreat to strengthen their union and had stayed away from Candy ever since. But, the affair was rearing its ugly head again. Candy had no choice but to tell Betty the truth. Yes she had slept with her husband. Multiple times. But it’s okay- because she didn’t want him anymore. I don’t know if Candy thought she was being diplomatic with her choice of words. I slept with him but I don’t want him anymore almost implies that if I did want him I would have him. In fact, the only reason he’s with you is because I don’t want him. That’s what I got out of what she said, and I’m sure that based on what happened next, Betty felt that way, too. We’ll discuss what happened right after a word from a podcast that I think you all would love- it’s not true crime. It follows law enforcement and military topics. I’m happy to introduce you to RuckUp Podcast!
So when we left off, Candy had just admitted to her and Allan’s affair in the most gangster way possible and Betty was like “is that right?” She then went to get the swimsuit that Candy had come for and, according to Candy, came back with an ax. The book made it very clear that Betty had a size advantage over Candy. Now she had a weapon. It sounds like she kind of threatened Candy with it saying, “You can’t have him”. Candy reiterated that she didn’t want him- which still sounds oh so fucked up to me. Then she apologized like, “I don’t want him. I’m sorry”. Then she says, at this point, Betty came at her with the ax. They roughed around for a while, wrestling over this ax. The fight was prolonged with Betty wildly swinging and Candy evading and trying to talk her down. Then at some point, Betty says “Shhh!” because her baby was asleep. Well, what did she do that for? For some reason, this triggered a full-on rage from Candy. She and Betty again went at it over the ax and somehow Candy ended up with it. At this point, she began to hack at Betty. She connected over 40 times- bludgeoning this woman who was once her friend, to death. Then in some movie type shit, she went in the bathroom and took a shower. This bitch was truly gangster. Then she grabbed the swimsuit, went home and changed clothes, then went back to the church to get the kids- including Betty’s daughter. This was probably the most sickening part to me. Well, besides leaving the sleeping baby in the house while Betty lay lifeless on the floor.
The book dives into so much- like the primitive by our terms investigation, the fact that the newspaper was opened to a page that featured Jack Nicholson’s iconic shot from The Shining. You know the picture. Him standing behind a hacked up door with an ax. How this murder occurred one month after Friday the 13th debuted in theaters ON Friday the 13th. There were just so many coincidences and idiosyncrasies that led the police and the public to believe there was a psychotic ax killer on the loose who was emboldened by the latest entries into the horror genre. They refused to believe a woman would be strong enough to commit the crime because- well, it was a simpler time. Women were thought of as the weaker sex- the patriarchy was real. Nowadays we see 82-year-old women beating the stuffing out of would-be robbers. That thought was inconceivable in the “good old days”. It would be three weeks before the authorities accepted that their best suspect (after the husband) was Candy Montgomery. As for Allan, he was out of town for work when the confrontation took place. In fact, he had continuously called his wife on the house phone because that’s all we had in the 80s to no avail. Betty had been rather upset that he had to leave, so he called a neighbor to go check on her. The neighbor stumbled upon this horrific mess and called the police. The baby was crying and hungry which truly broke my heart. Had no one gone to check on the home, she may have been a second victim of this terrible crime.
So Candy was finally caught and she admitted to killing Betty- in self-defense. This made for a SENSATIONAL trial. There were so many things uncovered about Candy’s early life and it was also revealed that Betty wasn’t a very sympathetic victim. Candy also was forced to admit to ANOTHER affair, which really hurt her husband. But the defense- SELF-DEFENSE just seemed like boating without a paddle. I could understand if the attack ended with one swing of the ax. But once we get to ten, twenty, forty swings that’s overkill. Crazily- more bizarre than anything else- the jury deliberated for three hours and returned a not guilty verdict. So that was it. Candy was free to go, with her family and husband’s support.
Of course, she moved and changed her name. And Allan Gore wasted no time in remarrying- that was the thing for widowers to do back then- except in 85 when my mom passed. My dad became a playboy- but you didn’t ask about that, did you. This story made me sad. Like really, really sad. Because- Betty was a little insecure and she had fucked up in the past and had presently rubbed a lot of people the wrong way but did she deserve to go out like that? I think she may have pulled the ax to intimidate Candy. If you’re standing in YOUR house with a goddamn ax, I’m getting THE FUCK out of your house. That’s my first thought- run. The facts are that Candy was the smaller woman, Betty had a weapon, and she felt like she had something to fight for. So, after who shot JR, and who killed Betty Gore, the biggest unanswered question is why didn’t Candy run. We only have her version of events to go by. Also, once Betty was incapacitated, with one or two ax blows why did she cover the crime up? The shower, changing clothes, lying low for three weeks? If it was self-defense, why not tell your husband, your pastor, the law- ANYBODY- so they could at least tend to the child.
You absolutely have to read this book because I definitely only glossed over the details. It was really a sensational story. You may read this and come out on the other side, but I definitely think that Candy should have been found guilty of SOMETHING, even if it was endangering a child. She was wrong. Her decisions led to a whole world of hurt. Those children lost their mother, Allan lost his wife, Pat Montgomery was destroyed when he found out that Candy had another affair, her kids live with the stigma of having “that” mom. Just all kinds of fucked up.
As promised, I’m going to read out the names of the bookworms who left a review- but before that, make sure to check out the show notes so you’ll see my sources and all the places you can find me. I’m rolling out the red carpet for someone to become my first patreon supporter. Two bucks a month will get you a shout out and you’ll be a distinguished listener. Plus, I’ll be putting out some bomb bonus shit if you decide I’m worth five bucks.
Next time on True Crime: By The Book
Sources and Shit
Ruck Up Podcast Links:
After thousands of years of being victims of the heinous crime called rape, one man has ALL the answers we need to avoid it. I’m not sure how no one thought of this before, so I am COMPELLED to share the truth. The following is a blueprint to being safe in an unsafe world. Please share with anyone who hasn’t been sexually assaulted yet!
I found this graphic and was happy to see the percentages rising of “podcast awareness”. I just wanted to share in case any fellow podcasters were curious.
Infographic by: MusicOomph.com
Someone knows something! Please help bring justice to these families!
Info for Rochelle:
An arrest has been made in the case of Rochelle Thomas Stubblefield, the pregnant Indiana woman who went missing in 2015. Derron Fuller, the father of her unborn son, has been charged with two counts of murder and one count of obstruction. He is currently being held without bond.
Rochelle’s remains have never been located.
Gary Police Department Violent Crimes Division at 219-881-1210 or the Crime Tip Line at 866-274-6347
Info for Abby and Libby- The victims in the Delphi case
Tip Line: (844) 459-5786
Indiana State Police: (800) 382-7537
Carroll County Sheriff: (765) 564-2413
Police are searching for the killer. These are the widely distributed composites of a person of interest in this case. Remember- these are not actual photos of the PoI- if you have info on a person or persons who does not resemble the composites please forward it on to police.
TCbyTB on all the things!
Also, big thanks to Podcorn for sponsoring this episode! If you are a podcaster navigating the murky sponsor waters, fear not! For Podcorn is here to guide you to easily monetizing your brand! Big or small- any show should sign up to begin browsing sponsors TODAY!