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Gruesome details revealed in opening statements of Adam Montgomery murder trial

Gruesome details revealed of Harmony Montgomery's death in Adam Montgomery's murder trial
Gruesome details revealed of Harmony Montgomery's death in Adam Montgomery's murder trial 02:08

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The prosecution presented gruesome details Thursday during opening statements in the murder trial of Adam Montgomery, who is accused of killing his 5-year-old daughter Harmony in New Hampshire and moving her body from place to place for months.

Montgomery's daughter Harmony disappeared in 2019 but police didn't know she was missing until two years later. Her body has never been found.  

"She was a daughter, she was a sister, she was a Minnie Mouse fan, she was a fun-loving girl that loved being a big sister. She was just five years old when the defendant brutally murdered her," prosecutor Christopher Knowles told jurors during his opening statement.

The most serious charge Montgomery faces is second-degree murder. He is also accused of assault and witness tampering.  

Prosecutors said the day Harmony was killed, Montgomery beat her while driving because she had a bathroom accident.

"Just as she feared would happen, the defendant smelled what she had done and for that, he hit her," said Knowles.

During his opening statement, Knowles said that after beating Harmony, her father continued driving to Burger King where he ate his food and did drugs.

"He pulled into that parking lot at Burger King and he ordered his food. He ordered his food and he ate. He didn't stop to check on Harmony," Knowles said. "He didn't look back at her. He didn't show any concern for this innocent little girl, the child he had just beaten. He ordered his food, and he ate. And he didn't stop."

On the first day of his trial Wednesday, Montgomery, 34, told Judge Amy Messer via teleconference that his attorneys plan to make "concessions" related to charges of falsifying physical evidence and abusing a corpse during opening statements.

Adam Montgomery at Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester, N.H, on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. David Lane/Union Leader via AP, Pool

The case of Harmony Montgomery, who was born in Massachusetts to unmarried parents with a history of substance abuse, exposed weaknesses in child protection systems and provoked calls to prioritize the well-being of children over parents in custody matters. Harmony was moved between the homes of her mother and her foster parents multiple times before Adam Montgomery received custody in 2019 and moved to New Hampshire.

Harmony Montgomery. (Photo Credit: Manchester NH Police)

A key prosecution witness is expected to be Adam Montgomery's estranged wife, Kayla Montgomery, who is serving an 18-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to perjury charges. She agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Adam Montgomery's defense attorney James Brooks told jurors Thursday that they "can and should" find Montgomery guilty on charges related to concealing Harmony's body. But he argued that it was Kayla who killed the young girl.

"Kayla Montgomery was the last person to see Harmony alive and know how Harmony died," Brooks said. "Adam is not an innocent here. He and Kayla covered up Montgomery's death ... Adam Montgomery did not kill Harmony."

For the next three months, investigators allege, Adam Montgomery moved the body from container to container and place to place. According to his wife, the locations included the trunk of a friend's car, a cooler in the hallway of his mother-in-law's apartment building, the ceiling vent of a homeless shelter and an apartment freezer.

At one point, the remains were kept in a tote bag from a hospital maternity ward, and Kayla Montgomery said she placed it in between her own young children in a stroller and brought it to her husband's workplace.

Brooks described Kayla Montgomery as someone who lied repeatedly to investigators in an effort to get a plea deal. He urged jurors to weigh the case "not on sympathy, but on the evidence and evidence alone."

"Kayla was all about about protecting herself to wiggle out of accountability for her own crimes," said Brooks.

Investigators allege that Adam Montgomery disposed of the body in March 2020 using a rented moving truck. 

"He believed if there was no body to find, there would be no evidence of what he had done and he would get away with this heinous crime," Knowles said.

Toll data shows the truck in question crossed the Tobin Bridge in Boston multiple times, but the affidavit has no other location information to indicate the location of Harmony's body. Last year, police searched a marshy area in Revere, Massachusetts.

When opening statements concluded, prosecutors began calling witnesses. The first person on the stand was Michelle Raftery, Harmony's foster mother, followed by Crystal Sorey, her biological mother. Sorey testified that she last saw Harmony in April 2019 and contacted Adam Montgomery for over a year trying to find her daughter with no success.

Later, Harmony's great-uncle Kevin Montgomery told jurors that he told the Department for Children, Youth and Families in 2019 that he had seen Harmony with a black eye.

He recalled Harmony's father saying, "I bashed her around the [expletive] house."

Demetrios Tsaros, a former Child Protective Services worker, and Adam Montgomery's friend Nicholas Ahern said he gave multiple explanations for how Harmony got the black eye.

"He told me that she acquired it during a soccer accident," said Ahern.

"He bought the kids, like, foam swords or light sabers and that they were playing with them and that Harmony was struck in the face," said Tsaros.

The jury of 12 and five alternates was seated for the trial in Manchester on Wednesday morning. Montgomery has declined to attend the trial in person.   

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