Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder By the Book: Candy and Betty

Local Lawyer

Pat Montgomery decided to stand by his wife. He earned a handsome living the equivalent of more than $200,000 a year today as a computer engineer with Texas Instruments, and he vowed to use his considerable wealth to hire the best lawyer he could.

They could have reached out to one of the Lone Star State's legendary legal gun-slingers, like Percy Foreman or Richard (Racehorse) Haynes, but Candy and Pat Montgomery opted to hire the only lawyer they knew personally: Don Crowder, a feisty former Southern Methodist University football player who attended their church.

There was one problem: Crowder specialized in civil litigation personal injury cases and the like. He had never in his career tried a single criminal case. Crowder enlisted the help of a young associate, Robert Udashen, who was all of three years out of law school.

Robert Udashen
Robert Udashen

Most great criminal defense attorneys are counter-punchers. They seize on a perceived flaw in the prosecution, then jab away at it, trying to convince jurors that the entire case hinges upon that single fly speck. (The classic modern example was defense attorney Johnnie Cochran's mantra at OJ Simpson's murder trial: "If the glove don't fit, you must acquit.") But Don Crowder was more of a brawler than a counter-puncher. And he broke all the rules during the trial perhaps because it was his nature, or perhaps because he didn't know any better.

Candy couldn't have known it at the time, but it would prove to be the best decision she ever made.

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