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Main image: Adam Montgomery during his sentencing hearing; Harmony Montgomery in an image inset on the left

‘Chose again to be heartless and immoral’: Adam Montgomery declines a drastically reduced prison sentence in exchange for saying where Harmony Montgomery’s remains can be found during dramatic sentencing hearing

Main image: Adam Montgomery during his sentencing hearing on May 9, 2024 (WMUR); Inset left: Harmony Montgomery (Manchester Police Department)

Adam Montgomery, 33, the father of Harmony Montgomery, 5, was given a choice in a New Hampshire courtroom on Thursday: tell the prosecution where his daughter’s remains are and get a substantial sentence reduction — or don’t and get the book thrown at him.

After the offer was made, the convicted child killer barely moved a muscle. A few beats of pure silence passed.

“Since that offer has been rejected your honor, that is yet another reason why the minimum should not apply,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati said. “What I just said was not a stunt, it was not a theatrical event. I stated, in closing arguments, that there are moments in life when we are tested; where our failure or our success lies in whether we do the right thing at that moment in time. And time and time again — and about 30 seconds ago — the defendant chose again to be heartless, and immoral, and selfish and unapologetic.”

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    On Feb. 22, Adam Mongtomery was convicted of Harmony’s murder — following a trial that the defendant wholly declined to attend.

    Not attending to face the allegations was his right as a criminal defendant. That aspect of the high-profile case, however, prompted Granite State legislators to pass a law requiring people convicted of the most serious felonies to attend their sentencing hearings.

    On Thursday, the condemned man sat through several victim impact statements that excoriated him as a “monster” and more during his sentencing hearing broadcast by Manchester-based ABC affiliate WMUR.

    Harmony’s mother, Crystal Sorey, who lost and regained custody of her daughter due to substance abuse problems throughout the girl’s too-short life, took the defendant to task for his previously-expressed desire to defend himself in court and “refute” the “offensive” allegations against him.

    “She had a life worth living,” Sorey said, bitterly, through ever-present tears. “Unlike your own. And it bothered you to your core that she was nothing like you and everything like me. Beautiful inside and out. Funny. Smart. Sassy. Loving. And, most of all, kind. She wasn’t a coward like you. And I’ll be forever grateful for that. You’re a coward who has to be in charge of everything and everyone around you. Insecure. And paranoid — the list goes on. She was none of those things. She lit up a room when she walked in. She made a mark wherever she went. And you couldn’t stand it.”

    The defendant also heard from his estranged wife, Kayla Montgomery.

    “Goodbye,” she said in a letter read aloud by a victim advocate. “I don’t know about you but I need some kind of closure. I’ll forever have a place in my heart for you whether you believe me or not. You were my best friend, my husband, the person I chose to spend the rest of my life with … by the time Thanksgiving came around in the year 2019, we were losing everything. My job, our place to live, and after living in a car for a few weeks, we lost that. At the same time, Harmony dies because of your anger and hitting her so many times.”

    Adam Montgomery has consistently maintained his innocence. And, though he never attended his trial, or spoke up during the hearing, his defense attorney reiterated that position on Thursday — while saying the prosecutor’s offer was, in fact, a “stunt” intended to elicit a reaction and calling it inappropriate.

    “I did not kill my daughter, Harmony,” Montgomery said when being sentenced for the firearms charges in August 2023. “I could have had a meaningful life, but I blew that opportunity through drugs. But I loved my daughter unconditionally and I did not kill her.”

    Instead, the defense aimed to pin the girl’s death on Kayla Montgomery. Jurors were not convinced by that line of argument.

    More Law&Crime coverage: ‘She alone knows how Harmony died’: Adam Montgomery defense pins long-missing girl’s death on estranged wife during opening statement, admits helping cover-up

    Police believe Harmony was killed on Dec. 7, 2019 — the product of her father’s rage after a series of “bathroom accidents” inside the Chrysler Sebring the Montgomery family begrudgingly called home. The family had been evicted the day before Thanksgiving that year.

    Then, for years, nothing. The lack of knowledge as to her whereabouts made its way onto law enforcement’s radar after Sorey raised the alarm in December 2021. By then it was far too late.

    While the girl’s remains have never been recovered, the state’s lead witness, Kayla Montgomery, provided what is believed to be the most likely story of her death and disappearance.

    Adam Montgomery’s rage toward his daughter culminated on Dec. 7, 2019, Kayla Montgomery told investigators. On that day, “Adam struck Harmony in the face/head on three separate occasions because she had a bathroom accident,” an affidavit filed in the case says.

    “I think I really hurt her this time,” Adam Montgomery allegedly said after the attack, his wife recalled. “I think I did something.”

    After the violence, Kayla Montgomery told investigators, the family returned to the parking lot of the apartment complex where they had consistently been parking their Sebring since being evicted. Later, she said, they realized the girl was dead and Adam Montgomery placed her body into a red and black Under Armour duffel bag.

    According to Kayla Montgomery, her husband kept Harmony Montgomery’s body in the duffel bag and moved it around for several months. In the immediate aftermath of her death, Kayla Montgomery told investigators that her husband occasionally kept his daughter’s body outside in the snow to slow down the process of decomposition.

    For months, Kayla Montgomery told investigators, her husband moved the girl’s remains around — even keeping her in the walk-in freezer of a restaurant where he worked as a dishwasher and a cook. Eventually, the estranged wife said, Adam Montgomery used lime to try and dissolve some of his daughter’s frozen body while “squishing” her flesh — and how she helped cut away the child’s clothes to make her body fit inside a tote bag bearing the logo of a Catholic hospital.

    The girl’s father, a career criminal, was ultimately convicted on one charge of murder in the second degree. He was also found guilty of related crimes including one count each of assault in the second degree, witness tampering, abuse of a corpse, and falsifying evidence.

    The prosecution had offered a sentence of 35 years to life for the murder conviction, to allow other convictions to run concurrently — or at the same time — and still others to be suspended if only the killer had disclosed the location where the tote bag ended up.

    Staring on, unmoved by the offer, he did not.

    Adam Montgomery was sentenced to 45 years to life in prison for murder, three-and-a-half years to seven years apiece for falsifying evidence and tampering with witnesses, and four to eight years for assault in the second degree over an attack on Kayla Montgomery, as well a 12-month suspended sentence for abuse of a corpse. His total sentence is 56 years to life in prison.

    And this time, unlike so many times, he had to show up and be present.

    “You took a human life and you did so in the most callous and heartless of ways,” Judge Amy Messer told the defendant. “You robbed a 5-year-old girl, your own daughter, of the life that she was to lead. You stole from your sons a sister. You took a daughter from her mother.”

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    The post ‘Chose again to be heartless and immoral’: Adam Montgomery declines a drastically reduced prison sentence in exchange for saying where Harmony Montgomery’s remains can be found during dramatic sentencing hearing first appeared on Law & Crime.