The story of Don Crowder is one that leaves us questioning the twists and turns of life. It’s a tale of a lawyer who rose to fame with a shocking courtroom victory and then plummeted into the depths of despair, ultimately taking his own life. In this article, we’ll delve into the intriguing journey of Don Crowder, from his triumphs in the courtroom to the tragic end that left many wondering why.
Don Crowder’s Rise to Prominence Don Crowder was not your ordinary lawyer. He started his career handling civil cases, but his hunger for the spotlight led him to take on a challenging criminal case. It all began when he crossed paths with Candace Montgomery, who sought his legal expertise as the police had already issued warrants for her arrest.
This was Crowder’s first foray into the world of criminal defense, and he was determined to make a mark. In a mere 8-day trial, he managed to craft a defense that left everyone astonished.
A Shocking Defense Despite the gruesome nature of the crime, with 41 stab wounds inflicted on the victim using a 3-foot axe, Crowder convinced the jury that Candace had acted in self-defense. He argued that she had experienced a dissociative episode, triggered by past trauma, causing her to fight back aggressively against her attacker. In her state of distress, she lost count of the number of times she struck her friend, Betty, to protect herself.
Crowder’s manipulation of the media, spreading misinformation to create positive publicity for Candace, played a crucial role in shaping public opinion. He also leveraged the “Stand Your Ground” law in Texas, which allowed the use of aggressive force to prevent violent crimes. These tactics led to Candace’s acquittal, a verdict that stunned many.
The Aftermath Following his success in the courtroom, Crowder continued his legal career and even ventured into politics, running for governor of Texas in 1986. Although he garnered significant support, he ultimately lost the race.
In 1991, his business venture, Gameday Sports Cafe, faced financial setbacks and incurred substantial losses. These challenges took a toll on Crowder’s mental health, but the tragic car accident that claimed the life of his brother, Barry, in 1997, was the breaking point. Crowder turned to substance abuse, battling alcohol and cocaine addiction.
The Demise of Don Crowder On October 25, 1998, just before his 56th birthday, Don Crowder attempted to take his own life. Surviving the attempt, he shared with the McKinney Courier-Gazette that his first criminal case had either been the zenith of a successful career or the beginning of his downfall. The haunting memories of Betty Gore’s family and the weight of the case had left an indelible mark on his mental state.
Sadly, on November 10, 1998, Don Crowder succumbed to his struggles with mental illness and substance abuse, ending his own life. Today, he is no longer with us, leaving behind a legacy marked by both triumph and tragedy.
The Unusual Dynamic with Judge Tom Ryan Throughout Candace’s trial, Don Crowder had an unusual dynamic with District Judge Tom Ryan. Crowder’s behavior led to his arrest for contempt of court, earning him the street name “Crazy Crowder.” This strained relationship with the judge added another layer of complexity to the already sensational trial.
Candace Montgomery’s Life After Acquittal Candace Montgomery, now known as Candace Wheeler, walked away a free woman after the trial. In the years that followed, she divorced her husband and pursued a career as a mental health counselor. Today, she resides in Georgia, leading a life far removed from the courtroom drama that once consumed her.
The story of Don Crowder is a reminder that life can take unexpected turns, even for those who achieve moments of great success. From his courtroom triumphs to his tragic end, Crowder’s journey is one filled with intrigue and sorrow. The case he defended continues to be a subject of debate and fascination, leaving us to ponder the mysteries of human behavior and the complexities of the legal system.