McKINNEY, Texas -- Candace Montgomery testified she had to defend herself from a 3-foot ax first thrust at her by the wife of her former lover. When the struggle was over, school teacher Betty Gore had been hacked to death by 41 ax blows.
A jury today is scheduled to begin deciding the guilt or innocence of Mrs. Montgomery.
Eight days of testimony in the standing-room-only trial ended Tuesday. The presiding judge, Tom Ryan, dismissed the nine-woman, three-man jury until 9 a.m. CST today.
Ryan said defense and proscution attorneys would each receive an hour to give final arguments and jurors would then retire to the new Collin County courthouse to begin deliberations.
Ryan moved the trial to the old courthouse last week to provide additional seating space at the sensational trial.
In court Tuesday, Ryan allowed testimony from a polygraph examiner who said Mrs. Montgomery was truthful in saying she was not the aggressor in the ax attack. The defense rested its case after Don McElroy, who administered the test to Mrs. Montgomery, supported the claim that she killed Mrs. Gore in self-defense.
McElroy testified Mrs. Montgomery did not lie when she said she did not go to the Gores' Wylie, Texas, home with the intention of harming Mrs. Gore, a school teacher.
Mrs. Montgomery said she went to get a bathing suit for Mrs. Gore's daughter, whom she was baby-sitting.
A Dallas psychiatrist, testifying for the prosecution, disagreed with previous defense testimony that Mrs. Montgomery's attack on Mrs. Gore was triggered by an unconscious memory event.
Clay Griffith disputed the claim of a Houston psychiatrist who testified earlier in favor of Mrs. Montgomery, but conceded he had not examined the defendant.
On Monday, Fred Fason said Mrs. Montgomery revealed under hypnosis she was cut when she was 4 years old and lay screaming on a doctor's examination table.
"Her mother said, 'Ssshhh, what will people in the waiting room think,'" Fason testified.
The incident caused Mrs. Montgomery to hide her anger for 26 years until Mrs. Gore grabbed an ax and began attacking Mrs. Montgomery with it, Fason said.
The defendant's pleas for Mrs. Gore to stop her attack were answered with "Ssshh," said Fason.
The 26 years of anger rushed forth in a rage, Fason testified.
But Griffith said it was impossible to pinpoint the reaction to a specific incident in Mrs. Montgomery's life.
"It [the attack] was not a disassociative reaction and certainly not tied to a specific incident," he said.
Griffith said he had not examined Mrs. Montgomery but had studied trial testimony. Griffith said Mrs. Montgomery's actions following the slaying were "very goal oriented in manner, not someone wandering around not knowing what to do."
Mrs. Montgomery has testified after killing Mrs. Gore, she washed the blood off by taking a shower in the Gore home, then went home and changed her clothes before joining friends for lunch at church.