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Lawyer says Candace Montgomery killed her friend

McKINNEY, Texas -- Candace Montgomery will describe from the stand how she killed Wylie schoolteacher Betty Gore with an ax, but there will be mitigating circumstances, the defendant's lawyer says.

A nine-woman, three-man jury empaneled Monday was to begin hearing testimony this afternoon in the highly publicized murder trial expected to last a week.

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Attorney Don Crowder, who had maintained Mrs. Montgomery's innocence of the brutal slaying since her arrest, stunned the courtroom Monday when he told 32 prospective jurors his client killed the 30-year-old fifth-grade teacher last June 13.

'We have quite a story to tell,' he said. 'It (the story) hasn't appeared in the newspapers.'

Crowder said Mrs. Montgomery, 30, will take the stand to tell exactly what happened and urged the jury to view the situation from her perspective.

'The judge will instruct you to look (through) the eyes of the accused,' he said. 'You have got to see it the way she saw it.'

Mrs. Gore was found hacked to death in her Wylie home on the day she babysat for Mrs. Montgomery's daughter. Wylie police said the murder weapon was a 3-foot ax kept in the Gores' garage.

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Mrs. Montgomery, who turned herself in to police 13 days after the slaying, was described by neighbors as a 'loving mother' who 'gets along real well with others.'

She, her husband and the Gores sang together in a Methodist church choir.

Officials said later Mrs. Montgomery and Allan Gore, the victim's husband, had had an affair which ended months before the killing and Mrs. Gore never knew about it.

Despite evidence linking Mrs. Montgomery to the scene and a reported confession she gave to a polygraph operator, Crowder had insisted before Monday his client was innocent and often said that police should be looking for a 'large male.'

While admitting Mrs. Montgomery killed Mrs. Gore, he said state prosecutors still must prove the slaying was intentional and the act did not take place in self defense.

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