Adam Montgomery: Guilty on all charges in the murder of his daughter, Harmony

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Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg, far right, speaks to the press following the verdict in the Adam Montgomery trial. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

MANCHESTER, NH – Adam Montgomery, who declared last August that he unconditionally loved his daughter and didn’t kill her, was found guilty of second-degree murder in her beating death.

The Hillsborough County Superior Court North jury deliberated about seven hours over two days before reaching the verdict Thursday afternoon.

“I’m finally feeling relieved that there’s some justice being served,” said Crystal Sorey, the mother of 5-year-old Harmony Montgomery, outside the courthouse.  She doesn’t use the Montgomery surname for her daughter anymore, she said, but refers to her as Harmony Renee, using her middle name.

“Obviously, it’s not over, but I have a little bit of peace knowing that he’s being held accountable, because he thought he was so untouchable and that she didn’t matter and nobody would miss her, and he was so wrong,” she said. “He was so wrong.”

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Crystal Sorey, Harmony Montgomery’s mother, is interviewed outside the courtroom following Thursday’s verdict. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

Montgomery, 34, was also found guilty of second-degree assault, for blackening Harmony’s eye in July of 2019; abuse of a corpse; falsifying physical evidence, and witness tampering.  The second-degree murder charge carries a sentence of 35 years to life in prison.  Abuse of a corpse is a misdemeanor which carries a sentence of up to 12 months in jail.  The remaining charges are class B felonies with sentences of 3 ½ to 7 years in prison.

Montgomery is already in the New Hampshire State Prison serving a minimum sentence of 32 ½ years on convictions for being an armed career criminal and weapons charges. 

Senior Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Agati said the sentence on the murder must be consecutive to the other convictions. It means Montgomery, who is 34, will be in prison at least for another 67 years or until he is 101 years old.

While he chose not to appear in the courtroom for his trial or for the verdict, Agati said state law requires in homicide cases that a defendant be present for sentencing and for the victim impact statements.  A sentencing date has yet to be set but it could be anytime between late March up to early May.

Sorey said she plans to be at the sentencing and face him.  She called him a “coward” for not appearing at his trial. 

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Manchester Police officers filled the courtroom Thursday awaiting the verdict in the Adam Montgomery trial. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

“He’s a coward. He’s a coward, he’s always been a coward,” she said. “That’s why he did what he did. He took her away from the people that loved her because he couldn’t hack that he didn’t have control. That’s all he cared about, control, everything in his life. She wasn’t anything to him.”  

Senior Assistant New Hampshire Attorney General Benjamin Agati, at a news conference following the verdicts, said while the trial is over, the investigation is continuing because Harmony’s remains have not been found.  Adam Montgomery was found guilty of falsifying physical evidence for covering up the crime by getting rid of Harmony’s remains.

 “He knows where she is,” Agati said.

 Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg agreed.  

“We’ve still got to find her,” he said. “This girl deserves better than the life that she had.” 

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Honorable Judge Amy Messer speaks to prosecutors and the defense about a question that the jurors had, shortly after they returned the verdict of guilty on all charges. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

Agati said investigators have determined there are about 26 miles along the route Adam took into Massachusetts, crossing over the Tobin Bridge, where Harmony’s remains could be.

He said searches have already been done of the Rumney Marsh Reservation in Revere, the Sales Creek area, the Chelsea Creek area, and around North Shore Road.

“She is somewhere along that route,” Agati said. “Revere police and Massachusetts State Police have been relentless in searching those areas with the Manchester Police Department. Those are still our big areas of search, and we’re hoping somebody sees something.”

He said Adam was from Revere and would be familiar with the area.

Sorey, who struggled with substance abuse, was in rehab when she lost custody of her daughter to Adam.  She said Adam prevented her from seeing Harmony.  The last time she saw her was over Easter in April of 2019.   Manchester police learned of her disappearance in late 2021, nearly two years after she went missing.

Sorey said she contacted child services at various times to report she hadn’t seen her daughter but no one listened to her.  It wasn’t until the Division of Children, Youth and Families referred the case to Manchester police that anyone took her seriously.

Capt. Jack Dunleavy of the juvenile division was the individual who listened and ultimately headed the investigation into the child’s disappearance.

On New Year’s Eve 2021, police held a news conference with large posters of Harmony front and center and announced they were searching for the 5-year-old who hadn’t been seen in more than two years.

That same day, police located Adam Montgomery, who was sleeping in a car with his girlfriend Kelsey Small, near Wolfe Park.  The officer told him he wasn’t in trouble, that police just wanted to know where Harmony was.  Adam had gained custody of her in February 2019.

Adam told him he had nothing to say to them.

A few days later, Adam was arrested for assaulting Harmony in July of 2019, blackening her eye.  He told his uncle that he “bashed her around the house.”

In August 2022, authorities announced that Harmony was murdered in 2019    based on “recently confirmed biological evidence.” Ultimately, Adam Montgomery was charged with her murder.

At trial, Kayla Montgomery, Adam’s estranged wife, testified to what happened to Harmony on Dec. 7, 2019, the day she died in the back seat of the family’s Chrysler Sebring.

Kayla said that Harmony was covered in bruises because she would have bathroom accidents in the car which the family was living in after being evicted from their 77 Gilford St. home.  At that time, Kayla and Adam had two other children, both boys and then ages 2 and 11 months.  Kayla had a daughter later but, on the stand, said she does not see any of her children and has no right to them.

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Kayla Montgomery took the stand for the second day Monday in the trial of Adam Montgomery. Defense Attorney Caroline Smith has spent several hours Friday and today cross-examining Kayla Montgomery. File Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

She is serving a sentence on two counts of perjury, for lying to the Grand Jury investigating Harmony’s disappearance.  She said she is up for parole in May.  Part of the plea agreement included that she had to testify truthfully at Adam’s trial.

Kayla, who was on the stand for nearly two days, said around 2 to 3 a.m. on Dec. 7, 2019, Adam woke up, smelled urine in the car and punched Harmony in the head 10 to 15 times.  When the family awakened later before 7 a.m., Adam again smelled urine and again struck Harmony in the head.

By 7 a.m., Adam had driven downtown to a methadone clinic where he and Kayla received their daily doses.  When he came out and got in the car, he once again smelled urine and repeatedly punched Harmony in the head.

Kayla said she wanted to get food at Burger King so as Adam drove to the fast-food restaurant and stopped at traffic lights, he would reach over the seat and continuously punch Harmony in the head.  Kayla said she put her hand up once to stop him but he gave her a look that was “evil” and it scared her.  She didn’t try to stop him again.   

She could hear Harmony moaning in the back seat but she didn’t check on her.

After a final blow, Adam told Kayla, “I think I hurt her this time.   I think I did something.”  

Still, neither one checked on Harmony.  They got their food at the drive-up, went back to Colonial Village where they parked the car and then did drugs.

A few hours later, they left Colonial Village but at the intersection of Elm and Webster streets, the car died.   Adam checked on Harmony then, touching her and saying, “Wake up, baby girl.  Baby girl, wake up.”  It was then he and Kayla realized she was dead.

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A billboard offering reward money for information leading to Harmony Montgomery’s whereabouts. File Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

Adam took a Duffel bag from the trunk of the car, put Harmony’s body in it and after gathering some belongings, walked back to Colonial Village to meet their friend and drug supplier, Anthony “Tone” Bondero.  Bondero drove them back to their car which was already on a tow truck.  They got a few more things and then went back to Colonial Village.

Bondero let them stay in his car for a couple of nights.  Adam would place the Duffel bag outside in a snowbank at times.  After, they went to stay with Kayla’s mother.  There, Adam put the bag with Harmony’s remains inside a red and white cooler.  The cooler remained in a common hallway of the apartment building for weeks until the family obtained a room at Families In Transition shelter on Lake Avenue late in December 2019.

There Adam stored Harmony’s remains first in a closet and then in the ceiling over the bed where he and Kayla slept.  They were at the shelter for about a month.  Harmony’s body began to decompose and Kayla testified there was a horrible smell.  Neighbors began to complain about the stench. 

So, Adam took the bag down from the ceiling, compressed Harmony’s body in the shower and repackaged it to fit in a smaller CMC canvas bag.  He then began taking the bag with him when he went to work at the now-defunct Portland Pie Company.  There he stored it in a walk-in cooler on the shelf where mustard and other condiments were kept.

Adam took the bag home with him each day.  One time, Kayla said he called from work and told her to bring the bag to him.  She did, placing the bag in between her two sons in their double stroller and taking the 15-minute walk to deliver it to Adam.

The family later moved to an apartment on Union Street, taking Harmony’s remains with them and storing them in the fridge.  Kayla said the two had talked about disposing of her remains and that Adam had wanted to buy tools to dismember her. Adam said they would have to wait until they received their tax refund, according to Kayla.

They also agreed to tell everyone that Adam Montgomery dropped Harmony off with her mother, Sorey, around Thanksgiving 2019.   

Harmony’s blood was found on the ceiling panel, where her remains were stored, as were Adam’s fingerprints and palm prints.

The prosecution found evidence of a March 2020 receipt for a withdrawal from the Montgomery account of $500 from the Citizens Bank ATM on South Willow Street.  They found another receipt from the nearby Home Depot where 20 minutes after the withdrawal there was a purchase of lime, a grinder saw, a blade and battery totaling about $400.   

Agati, in his closing argument, said it was no coincidence the following day after that purchase, Adam called maintenance because the bathtub, where the day before Kayla said he had thawed Harmony’s body and squished out the liquids, was clogged.

In March, Adam had a friend rent him a U-Haul van and, in the middle of the night and with the CMC bag containing Harmony’s remains, drove down into Massachusetts back and forth across the Tobin Bridge.

When he returned to the EconoLodge where they were staying, he told Kayla, “It’s done.”

He no longer had the CMC bag.

Manchester police issued a news release following the verdict.

“This child’s disappearance and senseless death caught the attention of many, and while the verdict will not erase this tragedy, we hope it sends a clear message that Harmony’s short life was valued, and she deserved so much more. Adam Montgomery’s actions were incomprehensible and horrific, and he will be held accountable for his crimes. Montgomery is currently incarcerated for unrelated crimes and he will be sentenced for these crimes in the Spring,” it said. 

The defense maintained that Kayla was the one who killed Harmony and that Adam took the blame because she needed to take care of the kids.

Public Defender Caroline Smith, in leaving the courthouse, said she had not comment, that they had said everything they had to say in court.

Harmony’s body has never been found and Manchester Police continue to monitor a dedicated tipline for any information leading to the whereabouts of Harmony. That number is 603-932-8997. 

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Harmony Montgomery


About this Author

Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.