Sentenced on gun offense, Adam Montgomery denies killing daughter

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Adam Montgomery is led into the courtroom for sentencing on Aug. 7, 2023. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Adam Montgomery, accused of killing his 5-year-old daughter Harmony in 2019, denied it Monday when he spoke to a judge before she sentenced him to 32½ to 75 years in state prison on unrelated stolen gun offenses.

“I did not kill my daughter Harmony, and I look forward to my upcoming trial to refute those offensive claims,” Montgomery, 32, told Judge Amy Messer in Hillsborough County Superior Court Northern District. He asked the judge in sentencing him to not consider anything relating to the case involving Harmony.

“The state is also looking forward to that trial coming up this fall,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati responded.

Montgomery is charged with the second-degree murder of Harmony, who went missing in late 2019 sometime after he was awarded custody.  Authorities didn’t know of the child’s disappearance until late 2021 after her mother, Crystal Sorey, who had been in and out of recovery for addiction, reported she hadn’t seen her daughter since 2019. Police believe Montgomery murdered her in December 2019.

In June, Montgomery was found guilty of two counts of being an armed career criminal, receiving stolen property and theft by unauthorized taking. He stole a Stag Arms AR-15 rifle and a 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun from Chris Frain, a friend, in late 2019.

The 32½ to 75-year sentence breaks down this way:  15 to 30 years on each of the two armed career criminal offenses with the sentences to be served consecutively; 7½ to 15 years in prison on the two theft-related charges, consecutive to the armed career criminal offenses but concurrently to each other, and five years of the theft sentences suspended on good behavior.

He was ordered to have no contact with the Frains.  A hearing to determine restitution is to be held at a later date. 

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Crystal Sorey, in pink, hurries down a staircase as media pursues her for comment following the Aug. 7, 2023, sentencing hearing for Adam Montgomery. Photo/Pat Grossmith

“Bullshit, pardon my French,” Sorey told a swarm of reporters and cameramen who trailed her out of the courthouse, about Montgomery saying he didn’t kill Harmony.  “His own wife said he killed her,” she said.

Sorey, who wore a pink T-shirt bearing a photograph of her daughter, said she was representing Harmony at the hearing.  She sat next to a victim/witness advocate in the front row behind the prosecution table.

Montgomery’s murder trial is slated for late November.  He also has two other cases, both charging him again with being an armed career criminal and being a felon in possession of a dangerous weapon, which Agati said are to be slated for trial after the murder case.

Messer, in sentencing Montgomery, said she only considered the weapons charges.  The defense argued for Montgomery to serve the minimum mandatory 10 to 20 years on the armed career criminal charges. His attorneys said his actions were influenced by his drug addiction.

“You probably won’t believe it when I tell you that I didn’t wake up one morning and choose to become an addict. I don’t want to be an addict, and I will spend my time in prison utilizing it to the best of my ability to change things about myself,” Montgomery told the judge. “I could have had a meaningful life, and I blew that opportunity through drugs, but I love my daughter unconditionally, and I did not kill her.”

Messer, however, said it was inappropriate to sentence him to the minimum sentence given his 16-year violent criminal history which included holding a knife to the neck of a 15-year-old; holding a gun on a mother whose child was present; and shooting a man in the face during a robbery in which he was shot as well. 

She also said the circumstances of gun charges were particularly egregious as well: the guns were stolen from a home where a mother and child were asleep; one gun was sold to a convicted sexual offender; another was traded for cash and drugs;  he bragged about having the guns; talked about them being hidden in walls; talked about fearing the ATF was on to him.

The trial on the gun charges lasted four days with the jury returning guilty verdicts after deliberating for about four hours.

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Adam Montgomery, right, seated next to defense attorney Caroline Smith during the Aug. 7 sentencing hearing. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

Testimony came from a circle of Montgomery’s friends in 2019 when his lifestyle centered around drugs, both selling and using them.  One witness testified to buying one of the stolen guns and then selling it back to Montgomery. Others testified to seeing the guns and holding them.

Kayla Montgomery, his estranged wife who has filed for a divorce, testified Adam told her he stole the guns from the Russell Street home of the Frains.  She was upset that he stole from their friends, didn’t return the guns, and that he kept them in the attic of their house.

The defense maintained Montgomery didn’t steal the guns, that Kimberly Frain allegedly traded the guns for drugs to Ishmael Garcia, who she testified was her alleged drug supplier.  Garcia, however, never testified at the trial, allowing the prosecution to refer to him as the “bogeyman.”

Prosecutor Chris Knowles, an assistant New Hampshire Attorney General, said the case was a remarkably simple one:  Montgomery stole the guns, he possessed the guns and he is a three-time convicted felon.

Some of the witnesses who knew Montgomery back in 2019, all of whom are now sober, testified about their struggles with drugs and the dark times they were in back then.

Kayla Montgomery, who is in prison serving a sentence for two counts of perjury for lying to a grand jury investigating Harmony’s disappearance, testified it took going to jail to get sober.

Twenty days after the guns were reported stolen, police arrested Jonathan Sargent, 40, of Manchester, for selling fentanyl and methamphetamine.  Sargent is serving a 13-year sentence in federal prison.

When he was arrested, police recovered the Stag Arms AR-15 that was stolen from the Frains. The shotgun has not been recovered. 


About this Author

Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.