MCKINNEY, Texas -- Candace Montgomery -- charged with the ax murder of the wife of her former lover -- choking back tears, testified Thursday that she twice was attacked by the victim and finally had to wrestle the bloody weapon out of the victim's hands.
Then, she testified, "I hit her, and I hit her, and I hit her, and I hit her."
Mrs. Montgomery said she had admitted having the affair with Alan Gore, husband of the victim, Betty Gore.
Mrs. Montgomery, a fellow church member with the Gores, said on June 13 she and Mrs. Gore were sitting in the Gore home and that Mrs. Gore told her she was aware of the affair. She testified she had sworn it was finished.
"But you did have one didn't you," Mrs. Montgomery quoted Mrs. Gore as saying.
She said she repeated, "Yes," and that Mrs. Gore went into the nearby utility room and came back with a 3-foot-long ax.
"I don't ever want you to see him again. You can't have him," Mrs. Montgomery quoted Mrs. Gore as saying.
She said she responded, "Betty, don't be ridiculous. It was over a long time ago," and that Mrs. Gore then leaned the ax against a wall and appeared to be calm.
Mrs. Montgomery, a mother of two young children, said it was a very emotional confrontation because they had been friends. She said as she got up to leave, Mrs. Gore said, "I don't want you to ever look at me again."
"She looked so hurt and so distressed and I reached out and put my hand on her arm and said, "Betty I'm so sorry,'' Mrs. Montgomery testified.
She said Mrs. Gore suddenly pushed her into the utility room, picked up the ax again and said, "You can't have him, you can't have him. I've got to kill you."
Mrs. Montgomery said the two began to struggle and that Mrs. Gore hit her a glancing blow on the side of the head that drew blood. Mrs. Montgomery then said Mrs. Gore raised the ax high over her head and swung it down but she managed to duck out of the way.
She said the two struggled for the ax and Mrs. Montgomery managed to take it away and swung it against Mrs. Gore, hitting her in the head and apparently stunning her because she began to slump down.
"I thought I killed her," Mrs. Montgomery said.
Mrs. Montgomery said she then tried to leave the room but Mrs. Gore suddenly slammed her body against the door, closing it, and reached again for the ax.
Mrs. Montgomery said she begged, "Betty let me go, please let me go."
She said a second struggle for the ax ensued -- the handle bloody -- both from her wound and from the wound to Mrs. Gore's head. She claimed Mrs. Gore's hands slipped off the weapon and Mrs. Gore fell backward.
"I didn't think," Mrs. Montgomery testified, choking back tears. "I didn't think at all. I raise it and I hit her, and I hit hit, and I hit her and I hit her."
The state finished its case with testimony from a crime analyst who said Mrs. Gore, a schoolteacher, was hacked to death in a "case of overkill."
Dr. Irving Stone, from the Dallas County Institute of Forensic Sciences, said, "There was far more damage or injury than was needed to take the life," he said. But he added there was nothing in his findings to contradict Mrs. Montgomery's claim of self-defense.