Jury selection to begin Feb. 6 in trial of Adam Montgomery, charged with killing daughter

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Adam Montgomery as seen on June 1, 2023, entering the courtroom for the first day of his trial on weapons charges at Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester. File Photo/David Lane

MANCHESTER, NH – Jury selection in the trial of Adam Montgomery, accused of pummeling his 5-year-old daughter to death and then secreting her remains about the city, begins Tuesday morning.

Potential jurors are expected to fill Courtroom 1 at Hillsborough County Superior Court North.  There are no seats available for the public to view the process. Only three seats are available for reporters.  A room off the courtroom is available for media where audio of the proceeding can be heard but there is no video.

Harmony Montgomery was missing for nearly two years before authorities learned of her disappearance.  In November 2021, Crystal Sorey, Harmony’s mother, told police she hadn’t seen her daughter for months.   Sorey had battled substance abuse and was in rehab when Adam Montgomery, despite a violent past, was granted full custody of Harmony by a Massachusetts judge. 

Prosecutors believe Montgomery killed his daughter on Dec. 7, 2019, although her remains have yet to be found.  To prove their case, prosecutors will be relying on the testimony of Kayla Montgomery, Montgomery’s estranged wife and Harmony’s stepmother, as a witness to the murder.  Many other witnesses are expected to testify as well (prosecutors at one point listed about 200 witnesses) including police investigators. 

The trial also will include physical evidence, which includes Harmony’s DNA recovered from sheetrock from the ceiling of a Families in Transition apartment on Lake Avenue where the family stayed.  That sheetrock is expected to be brought into the courtroom for the jurors’ viewing.

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Harmony Montgomery, pictured in 2019 at age 5. Family Photo

Kayla Montgomery told investigators Harmony’s body was stored in a bag in the ceiling of that apartment.  When other people in the building complained about an odor coming from that apartment, she told police Adam took the bag down, placed it inside another garbage bag and then put it back in the ceiling.  Investigators say they recovered his fingerprints from that site.

Montgomery, 33, is charged with second-degree murder for repeatedly punching Harmony in the head on Dec. 7, 2019, causing her death; falsifying physical evidence, for concealing Harmony’s body; abuse of a corpse, for removing, concealing or destroying his daughter’s corpse, and witness tampering for attempting to induce Kayla Montgomery, his estranged wife, to testify falsely.

Police say on Dec.7, 2019, as Montgomery was driving the family to Burger King, Harmony soiled her pants in the car.  At that time, the family – which included Adam, Kayla, Harmony and the Montgomery’s two younger sons – had been evicted Nov. 27, 2019, from their 77 Gilford St. home and were living out of the Chrysler Sebring.

When the little girl had the accident in the car, Montgomery turned around and repeatedly punched her in the face, according to a police affidavit on file in court.  

“I think I really hurt her this time. I think I did something,” Kayla Montgomery told police Adam said after the final blow. 

On Dec. 7, 2019, Adam struck his daughter for the last time.  Harmony began making a moaning type noise which went on for about five minutes and then stopped, Kayla said.

No one checked on the little girl after she was battered.  Instead, Montgomery drove back to Colonial Village, where they had taken up residence in their car in the parking lot.  Kayla and Adam then did some drugs.  They stayed there for 20 minutes, still never checking on Harmony.

They drove away from the apartment complex but a short distance away, at the intersection of Elm and Webster streets, the car broke down. It was about 12:10 p.m., the time they noticed Harmony was dead, police said.

Adam opened the trunk of the car, emptied an Under Armour bag and put the lifeless body of his daughter into it.  He walked back to the parking lot at Colonial Village, carrying the bag.  Later, the couple retrieved their belongings from the broken-down car which they abandoned.

The next several months, as the family moved from place to place, Harmony’s remains went with them.

 On Dec. 30, 2019, the family moved into a Families in Transition apartment at 177 Lake Ave., #1.  The Under Armour bag with Harmony’s body was brought to the apartment as well and Adam placed it in the ceiling vent in the bedroom.

“Kayla said during this time, there was liquid coming from the bag containing Harmony’s dead body, and there was an odor,” Manchester Police Detective John Dunleavy wrote in his 48-page affidavit.  “She said Adam placed a trash bag around the bag to keep it from leaking.”

When tenants in the apartment building began complaining about a smell coming from the Montgomerys’ apartment, Kayla told detectives Adam took the Under Armour bag out of the vent, wrapped it in another garbage bag and put it back in the ceiling.

Before maintenance came to check the vent, Adam took the bag down again and placed in the closet.   When maintenance checked the vent, they said it must have been a dead animal because they didn’t see anything up there.

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Neighbors watch as investigators search a Union Street apartment building for evidence in the case of Harmony Montgomery, missing since late 2019. File Photo/Carol Robidoux

On June 4, 2022, detectives searched the apartment and removed a large section of the ceiling sheetrock that was stained.  Adam Montgomery’s fingerprints allegedly were found on it.  Forensic DNA analyst Alan Ackroyd-Isales of DNA Labs International determined a sample from the sheetrock contained Harmony’s DNA.

On Feb. 20, 2020, the family moved to 644 Union St., second floor, Apt. 2, and, once again, brought Harmony’s body with them.  Adam put the bag containing Harmony’s body into a plastic storage bin, put it on a stroller and then walked it to the Union Street apartment where he stored it in a closet.  At one point, the Under Armour bag was leaking and Adam wrapped it in another garbage bag and put it in the refrigerator.

Kayla told investigators that one day, Adam spent four to six hours in the bathroom with the shower running.  Then he placed Harmony’s remains in a much smaller CMC maternity bag.  The bag, Dunleavy wrote, was much smaller than the Under Armour bag and Harmony’s body would not have fit unless it was dismembered or “grossly distorted.”

On March 3, 2020, Brendon Middleton, 27, rented a U-Haul van for Adam’s friends, Travis Beach and Britney Bedard who told him they needed it to move furniture.  Investigators recovered a Facebook conversation on March 3-4, 2020, between Adam and Beach, concerning Beach renting a U-Haul.  Beach said he gave Adam the keys to it when Adam was staying at the EconoLodge.

Kayla told investigators that after the U-Haul was rented, Adam left the hotel with the CMC maternity bag containing Harmony’s body about midnight or 1 a.m.  She said he returned that same morning about 5 or 6 a.m.  When he returned, Kayla said he seemed tired and he said words to the effect, “It’s done.”  She never saw the CMC maternity bag again.

Dunleavy obtained information concerning the U-Haul van from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.   The van incurred three toll violations on March 4, 2020, at 4:44 a.m., 4:45 a.m. and 5:25 a.m., heading north, south, then north, respectively on the Tobin Bridge.  They also obtained photographs of the van but the person driving it was blacked out for privacy reasons.

During the investigation, police searched for Harmony’s remains in an area in Revere, Mass. but were unsuccessful.

The trial is expected to last the entire month of February. 


 

About this Author

Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.