Openings, view expected following final jury selection in Adam Montgomery murder trial

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Adam Montgomery

    Adam Montgomery and his lawyers Caroline Smith and James Brooks watch as potential jurors enter the courtroom for jury selection ahead of his murder trial at Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester, N.H, on Feb. 6, 2024. He is accused of killing his five-year-old daughter, Harmony. David Lane/UNION LEADER POOL

MANCHESTER, NH – On Wednesday (Feb. 7)  27 potential jurors will be questioned more closely by opposing attorneys to determine who will sit on the jury in judgement of Adam Montgomery, charged with killing his 5-year-old daughter Harmony in December 2019.

It took from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court North for the attorneys to select those 27 people from two jury pools totaling about 235 citizens.

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.
Today, attorneys will conduct voir dire, the further questioning of those 27 people to determine their suitability to serve on the jury, and ultimately reduce the number to 17 jurors. Twelve of them will deliberate Montgomery’s guilt or innocence, and five will serve as alternates. The alternates will be determined at the close of the trial, prior to deliberations.

So far in the selection process, jurors were given a list of witnesses expected to be called and asked if they were related to or knew any of them. Judge Amy Messer also asked them a series of questions which included whether they or a family member had been a victim of a crime or domestic violence; if they had read or seen any media reports concerning Harmony Montgomery being a missing child; had they seen any billboards concerning her; did they or anyone they know participate in a vigil or a search for Harmony; would they be disturbed by testimony concerning the abuse of a corpse; and did they frequent the Portland Pie restaurant on Elm Street in 2020.

(Montgomery worked as a dishwasher at the restaurant in 2020 and allegedly stored his daughter’s remains in a Catholic Medical Center maternity bag inside the walk-in cooler, although the jury pool was not informed of that.)
The vast majority of jurors answered yes to at least one question. When their name was called, the juror approached the bench where the judge and/or attorneys privately asked them additional questions. Most of the time, the juror was excused.

The first jury pool, of about 115 jurors, was depleted by mid-afternoon, after 25 potential jurors were selected. The second pool was then brought in with the remaining two jurors selected by 3:30 p.m.

The second pool, with about 120 people remaining, is to return this morning. That is to ensure there are enough potential jurors available in the event the number of potential jurors after voir dire falls below 17.

Adam Montgomery
Superior Court Justice Amy Messer conducts a bench meeting with lawyers at jury selection for the Adam Montgomery murder trial at Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester, N.H, on Feb. 6, 2024. He is accused of killing his five-year-old daughter, Harmony. From left are Assistant New Hampshire Attorney Generals Christopher Knowles and Benjamin Agati and Public Defenders Caroline Smith and James Brooks. David Lane/UNION LEADER POOL

The judge instructed all of the potential jurors that they were not to discuss the case with anyone; they were not to watch or read any news accounts of the proceedings; they were not to do any research on the case, and they were not to drive by any of the sites connected to the case. She told them they were under court order to comply.

Once the jury is finally selected and sworn in, attorneys are expected to give their opening statements. Jurors then will take a view of sites connected to the case including: 77 Gilford St. where Harmony lived with her family in the months preceding her death; the Colonial Village apartment complex where the family lived out of their car after being evicted from their Gilford Street home; 177 Lake Ave., the Families In Transition family shelter where the family also lived and where Adam allegedly placed Harmony’s remains in a bag in the ceiling; 644 Union St., another residence where Montgomery allegedly stored his daughter’s remains in a refrigerator; and a methadone clinic at Webster and Union streets.

Prosecutors maintain Montgomery murdered his daughter on Dec. 7, 2019, and then, in the following months, hid her remains in an ice cooler, an apartment ceiling, a commercial freezer and an apartment refrigerator/freezer. Kayla Montgomery told investigators that Adam Montgomery used lime on Harmony’s remains to help in the decomposition.

Her body has not been recovered, which makes the high-profile case more difficult for prosecutors to prove.
It wasn’t until late 2021 that Manchester Police learned Harmony hadn’t been seen for nearly two years, even though both even though both Massachusetts and New Hampshire child welfare agencies had, at times, were involved in her life.

Her mother, Crystal Sorey, who was in rehab when Adam Montgomery was granted custody of Harmony by a Massachusetts judge, notified officials in November 2019 that she hadn’t seen her child in months

Prosecutors are relying on Kayla Montgomery, Montgomery’s estranged wife and Harmony’s step-mother, as a key witness. Initially, she told investigators that Adam told her he had dropped Harmony off with Sorey after Thanksgiving 2019.

Eventually, however, she told detectives Adam killed Harmony on Dec. 7, 2019, when she soiled her pants inside the family’s Chrysler Sebring, which served as their home after they were evicted from their Gilford Street home. He allegedly punched the child repeatedly in the head.

Prosecutors are also relying on DNA obtained from sheetrock from the family’s apartment at the FIT family shelter. Prosecutors say Harmony’s DNA was found there as were Adam Montgomery’s fingerprints.

Montgomery maintains he is innocent and that he loved his daughter unconditionally. The defense contends the state has downplayed Kayla’s role in the case.

They also point out that she was sentenced to prison for lying to the Grand Jury investigating Harmony’s disappearance.

Adam is presently in the New Hampshire State Prison after being sentenced in August to 32 1/2 to 75 years for being an armed career criminal and possessing stolen guns in an unrelated case. He is appealing those convictions.


About this Author

Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.