Rampant abuse, damning DNA evidence and a ‘betrayal’ prison letter: Harmony Montgomery trial’s key revelations

The first week of Adam Montgomery’s trial over the murder of his five-year-old daughter Harmony was set off to a harrowing start as the court heard disturbing theories of the things he did to conceal the little girl’s corpse.

Montgomery, 34, is charged with second-degree murder in the December 2019 death of Harmony Montgomery. On Wednesday, he said he intended to plead guilty to two lesser charges of abuse of a corpse and falsifying information.

Harmony disappeared in 2019, but police didn’t know she was missing until two years later, when her mother publicly demanded an investigation after months of failed attempts to get in touch with Montgomery.

Montgomery’s estranged wife and Harmony’s stepmother Kayla Montgomery later came forward with allegations that he fatally hit Harmony in the head after she soiled herself while the family was travelling in a car. Kayla and Adam Montgomery’s then-infant sons were also inside the vehicle, where the family had been living after being evicted from their home in November 2019.

What followed were two years of disturbing plots to hide Harmony’s decomposing body. Montgomery finally disposed of it at an unknown location in March 2020.

Harmony’s remains have never been found.

Here are some of the key revelations that have emerged in court during the first week of trial:

Adam Montgomery’s fingerprints found next to Harmony’s blood

After Harmony was killed on 7 December 2019, her father, stepmother Kayla Montgomery, and the couple’s two infant children moved in with Kayla’s mother. At that time, Montgomery reportedly kept Harmony’s remains inside a red freezer with a white lid.

The family later moved to a shelter, where Montgomery then hid Harmony’s body inside a ceiling vent.

“He compressed and contorted her body into this bag,” the prosecution said while showing a medium-sized tote bag.

The state said that when investigators returned to the room two years later, they saw deep blood stains in the ceiling vent and smelled decomposition.

“And surrounding Harmony’s blood, all that was left of her …. the defendant’s fingerprints and palm prints, froze in there for a time,” the prosecution said.

Montgomery crushed remains until they fit inside maternity bag

It emerged on 12 February that the CMC (Catholic Medical Center) tote bag Harmony’s remains were crushed into was given to Kayla Montgomery after she gave birth to her son at the hospital.

“It was a diaper bag,” Kayla said.

Adam Montgomery and his family moved to a shelter in 2020, where investigators said he hid Harmony’s body


The state said that when investigators returned to the room two years later, they saw deep blood stains in the ceiling vent and smelled decomposition


Montgomery took daughter’s rotting remains to work with him

After neighbours began to complain about the smell, Montgomery reportedly brought the bag with Harmony’s remains to work with him every day.

At the time, he worked as a cook and dishwasher at the since-closed Portland Pie Company.

“[The bag] stood out to people, because he placed it in the freezer during his shifts,” a prosecutor said. “He brought it with him regularly to work and he stored it in a freezer where the company kept food, and ingredients. People saw him bringing that in and out. They couldn’t have imagined what that bag contained.”

Adam Montgomery used quicklime to dissolve body in bathtub

Montgomery began discussing ways to dispose of Harmony’s body in March 2020, after he and Kayla Montgomery moved to an apartment on Union Street with their children.

“He discussed using a saw to cut her up. He discussed using lime to further decompose her so she couldn’t be found,” the prosecution said during opening statements. “Remember, he believed that if there was no body there could be no evidence and he could get away with this.”

The state said that he compressed the sealed bag with Harmony’s remains and added quicklime to the bag.

“Thinking that it would eat away anything left of her,” the prosecution said. “He spent most of the day in that bathroom compressing Harmony.”

According to the prosecution, Montgomery took Harmony’s frozen remains and put them in the tub, running hot water to further manipulate what was left of the body. Kayla Montgomery then walked inside the bathroom and allegedly saw Montgomery.

She saw that Harmony was largely skin, bones and fluid – and that Mr Montgomery was trying to dispose of her remains down the drain, the prosecution said.

Montgomery discussed using NutriBullet to further reduce remains

Kayla alleged that Montgomery discussed using a handsaw and a NutriBullet to destroy Harmony’s rotting remains. Montgomery spent hours inside the bathroom “dethawing” Harmony’s frozen remains, cutting the clothes off the body, and running hot water onto what remained of the little girl, she said.

“He wanted to use a handsaw and a NutriBullet,” Kayla told the court. “He said that’d be good to use to help get rid of her … I saw Harmony folded together the same way she was when we took her out of the car. She looked like she had barely any skin, just skin and bones and was very bruised. He had the hot water running … in the tub.”

It is unclear whether Montgomery actually used a NutriBullet. According to the prosecution, Montgomery did purchase lime, a metal-cutting blade and a grinder at a Home Depot.

Harmony had dried blood from being hit days before her death

Under cross-examination, Kayla Montogmery admitted that Harmony often had dried blood on her face from being beaten by her father.

“And you didn’t clean her face?” defence attorney Caroline Smith asked.

“No, we just kept her under the blanket,” an emotionless Kayla answered.

Kayla Montgomery put Burger King sandwich on Harmony’s lap without realising she was dead

Kayla Montgomery said that after Montgomery hit Harmony to death, the family drove to a Burger King. She fed her two young sons and placed a sandwich on Harmony’s lap without realising she was dead.

“After the defendant repeatedly struck Harmony. After he put the blanket over her. After she moaned. After the strange crying moaning stopped. After you did drugs and after the car died, you thought she was sleeping under that blanket,” the prosecutor said.

“Why did you think that she may be sleeping after Adam repeatedly struck her?”

“Because she would usually just go to sleep after,” Kayla Montgomery answered.

Montgomerys used SNAP benefits to pay for drugs

The Montgomerys’ dealer took food stamps as a form of payment for drugs.

As a result, Kayla Montgomery said, the whole family found themselves having to eat baby food.

“Who was eating baby food while you were living in that car?” the prosecutor asked.

“All of us,” Kayla Montgomery said as she broke down in tears. “Myself, and the boys and Harmony.”

Kayla Montgomery’s ‘betrayal’ demands in prison letter

During opening statements, the defence introduced a prison letter allegedly written by Kayla Montgomery after she was arrested on theft charges for collecting welfare benefits for the missing child between December 2019 and June 2021.

In the letter, she allegedly wrote the things she wanted in exchange for “betraying Adam.”

Among the things she reportedly requested were “immunity from everything, all charges she was facing … maybe ankle bracelet, or probation or drug rehab, kids in my life, not lose custody and have kids live with me.”

The prosecution had previously suggested during their opening statements that Harmony died after her father repeatedly hit her in the head because she had soiled herself. The state argued that Kayla Montgomery didn’t come forward with information sooner because she was being abused and “terrorised” by her husband.

On Friday, defence attorney Caroline Smith read the letter out loud. Among other demands, Kayla wrote that she wanted to see Montgomery “one last time, kiss him, and maybe make love to him,” Ms Smith said — casting doubt on the prosecution’s argument that Kayla initially lied to officials because she was being threatened by Montgomery.

“What you didn’t write was protection from Adam, what you didn’t write was that you were afraid of Adam,” Ms Smith asked. “You just wanted to be with him before you, as you put it, betray him, right?”

“I wasn’t thinking about that …. yes,” Kayla answered.

Kayla Montgomery, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison last year over perjury charges, is expected to be the prosecution’s strongest witness.

Adam Montgomery pins blame for Harmony’s murder on ex-wife

Mr Brooks also claimed that it was Kayla Montgomery who last saw the little girl alive. Mr Brooks went on to say that Kayla Montgomery had created a web of lies to put the blame on her husband and that Adam Montgomery had merely agreed to destroy evidence to “protect” his wife and keep custody of their young children.

“He’s not innocent here. He and Kayla moved the body to keep it hidden. You should find him guilty on those charges,” Mr Brooks told jurors. “Adam Montgomery did not kill Harmony … Kayla Montgomery was the last person to see Harmony alive and knows how Harmony died.”

While the family was living in their car, Montgomery was doing odd jobs in order to earn quick money, Mr Brooks claimed.

It was during one of those instances in which Kayla Montgomery was left alone with the children in the car that Harmony died, Mr Brooks alleged.

Kayla Montgomery arrives for her plea and sentencing hearing at Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester, New Hampshire

The state argued that Kayla Montgomery didn’t come forward with information sooner because she was being abused and “terrorised” by her husband.

“Harmony did not die in that intersection you saw yesterday,” Mr Brooks told the court. “Both Adam Montgomery and Kayla found Harmony’s body in the middle of the night after he returned from work at Colonial Village Aparments.”

The defence said Kayla Montgomery did not tell Adam Montgomery how Harmony died, but that he went on with a plan to destroy Harmony’s remains in order to “protect” his family. The couple then put off the decision to dispose of the body because they didn’t know what to do, Mr Brooks said.

Harmony Montgomery ‘potty trained herself’

The prosecution argued that Harmony had met all the milestones for a girl her age, and only began soiling herself when she was sent to live in an abusive environment with her father. Harmony’s foster mother Michelle Raftery told jurors on Thursday that Harmony was potty trained by the time she was two and a half years old.

“We had the privilege of being Harmony’s foster parents … At two and a half, going on three she was potty trained,” Ms Raftery said. “She wanted to be like the bigger kids in our house. So she would tell us, she pretty much potty trained herself.”

Ms Raftery cared for Harmony for several periods during her first four years of life as the little girl was frequently removed from her mother, who had a substance abuse problem. Ms Raftery said that Harmony would call her “momma,” and say “dadda” to her husband.

Harmony Montgomery was last seen in October 2019 at a home in Manchester

(Manchester Police Department)

Doctors had initially said that Harmony was legally blind in both eyes, had issues with her brain, and was not expected to live past seven months.

“However I noticed that when I would feed her, she would track me with one of her eyes,” Ms Raftery said. “She was very sweet, very happy. She was very social and loved to be around people. Wherever she went, she would leave people happy.”

Harmony was “meeting every benchmark” and thriving with the help of a dedicated team of doctors while she lived with the Rafterys.

Adam Montgomery said he had ‘bashed Harmony around’

Montgomery’s uncle Kevin Montgomery, who briefly lived in the same home along with Montgomery, his wife and kids, said while on the stand that he did not want to be in court but was subpoenaed to testify. Kevin told jurors he took a trip to Florida in July 2019 to visit family.

When he returned on 22 July 2019, he noticed Harmony had a black eye.

“Looked full all the way around, like a racoon’s eye,” he told jurors as he became emotional. “I said something along the lines of, ‘Oh my f***ing God, what did you do, Harmony?”

Harmony did not answer the question, but Adam Montgomery did, Kevin said.

“She didn’t do anything, I bashed her around the f***ing house,” he claimed his nephew answered.

Kevin told several relatives about the incident, including Harmony’s mother and foster mother, and also called the Department of Child and Family Services. A DCFS checked in on Harmony but only noticed a “small red mark” under her eye that her father claimed she got during a soccer game.

Kevin Montgomery tried to get ahold of his nephew in 2020, to no avail. He later realised that Adam Montgomery had blocked him on Facebook.

Under cross-examination, the defence tried to argue that Montgomery hit his daughter by accident after he walked in on her trying to suffocate her baby brother. However, Kevin Montgomery said he only recalled Montgomery saying Harmony had her fingers on the baby’s mouth.

During redirect, Kevin Montgomery clarified that he didn’t think Adam Montgomery was just “jerking Harmony” away from her brother, or that his comment about “bashing Harmony around the f***ing house” was sarcasm.

Kyala Montgomery says ‘she still cares’ about Adam Montgomery “Why stay with someone that does what he did to a helpless girl?” the prosecutor asked Kayla Montgomery as he held a large picture of her beaten face — allegedly caused by Montogmery.

“Because for some reason, I still care about him,” Kayla answered with her head down as she wiped her tears.

“Why stay with someone that beat her to death,” the prosecutor pushed.

“I don’t know, I was scared.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button