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Adam Montgomery’s defence tries to blame Harmony’s murder on wife in closing statements

Adam Montgomery’s defence again attempted to pin his daughter’s murder on his estranged wife during closing arguments in his New Hampshiretrial.

Montgomery, 34, is standing trial in Manchester for allegedly beating his five-year-old daughter Harmony to death back in December 2019.

After two-and-a-half weeks and testimony from more than two dozen witnesses, the prosecution and the defence delivered their closing arguments on Wednesday morning.

The defence rested its case without calling any witnesses, but told jurors to take testimony from Montgomery’s estranged wife Kayla Montgomery with a grain of salt.

Defence attorney Caroline Smith said that, while his client “did horrible things” to conceal Harmony’s body, he did not kill his daughter.

“Adam did some very very bad things but he did not kill his daughter,” Ms Smith told jurors.

“Can you put your trust for one of the most important decisions of your life, in Kayla?” she asked. “The police know that she is a liar, the state knows that she is a liar. She was charged with perjury for lying to a grand jury.”

The defence has argued throughout the trial that Harmony died under Kayla’s care and that Montgomery only made plans to dispose of Harmony’s body to “protect” his and Kayla’s two infant sons.

“‘Wake up, baby girl,’ those were the words Kayla described Adam used,” attorney Caroline Smith said. “...when he discovered [Harmony] unnaturally appeared to be asleep. And she never woke up again ... Those words were the truth, surrounded by Kayla’s lies.”

She continued: “Kayla decided to lie about Harmony’s death. She had to lie because the truth would point to her. And her lies were accepted because Adam was accused of Kayla’s black eye.”

Ms Smith pushed back against damning evidence introduced during the proceedings that Montgomery was physically abusive towards Harmony.

Earlier this week, Judge Amy Messer denied a motion by the defence to toss Kayla’s testimony from the trial, after she testified that Montgomery punched Harmony repeatedly in the head after he became enraged with her because she had soiled herself.

Montgomery pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in 2022 and proclaimed in court last year in an unrelated case that he did not kill his daughter. As his trial got underway in Manchester, his attorneys acknowledged he was guilty of two lesser charges of falsifying evidence and abusing a corpse.

Montgomery, who is serving a 30-year prison sentence for an unrelated gun conviction, hasn’t been attending his trial.

Judge Amy Messer addresses defense and prosecution attorneys during the trial of the Adam Montgomery (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Judge Amy Messer addresses defense and prosecution attorneys during the trial of the Adam Montgomery (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Montgomery and Harmony’s mother, Crystal Sorey, were not in a relationship when Harmony was born in 2014. The child lived on and off with foster families and with her mother. Ms Sorey lost custody of Harmony in 2018, and Harmony was sent to live with her father in February 2019.

Ms Sorey also took the stand and testified that she last saw her daughter during a FaceTime call around Easter of that year.

Kayla has been the star witness at her estranged husband’s murder trial.

Kayla testified that her husband repeatedly punched Harmony in the head because the girl had wet herself. She said her family, including the couple’s two young sons, had been evicted and were living in a car at the time. According to Kayla, Adam punched Harmony at several stop lights as they drove from a methadone clinic to a fast food restaurant on the morning of 7 December 2019.

She also testified about handing food to the children without checking on Harmony, the subsequent discovery that the girl was dead, and all the places she said her husband hid the body, including in a ceiling vent at a homeless shelter and the walk-in freezer at her husband’s workplace.

She is currently serving an 18-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to perjury for lying during grand jury testimony about where she was when Harmony was last seen alive. She was not given immunity, but she acknowledged to defence lawyers that she hasn’t faced further consequences for inconsistencies in her various statements to police or prosecutors.