A panel of jurors in the trial of Adam Montgomery, a father charged in the death of his five-year-old daughter in New Hampshire, were taken to see his workplace, where prosecutors alleged he stored the little girl’s body in a walk-in freezer.
Montgomery, 34, is accused of brutally hitting Harmony Montgomery in the head with his fist until she stopped breathing, causing her death on 7 December 2019. He is facing charges of second-degree murder, abuse of a corpse, falsifying physical evidence, assault and witness tampering.
Proceedings were off to a chaotic start on Wednesday after Montgomery told Judge Amy Messer via video conference that he intended to plead guilty to two of the charges — abuse of a corpse and falsifying physical evidence — and be tried on the remaining counts.
The announcement was made as jurors waited to go on a view of different key locations in the case. They were expected to visit the Gilford Street home where Harmony, her father, stepmother and siblings lived before they were evicted in November 2019.
Jurors were also set to drive by the parking lot of a building complex where the Montgomerys lived in their car months after. The final location was an apartment on Union Street where the Montgomerys lived and where prosecutors believe Montgomery reduced Harmony’s body.
Jurors were only allowed to take a look at the complex from the bus. Prosecutor Ben Agati also said during pre-view statements that the jurors would be driving by the pizza show where Montgomery worked and where he allegedly hid the body in a walk-in freezer before disposing of it.
“In a few minutes, we are going to get on a bus to see a couple of locations in Manchester. In some ways, it’ll be the beginning of a journey that you will likely never forget,” prosecutor Ben Agati said.
“It’s also the last journey that Harmony Montgomery took when she was alive and where her body went afterwards. It’s a journey into the actions of the defendant on the days of the attack and after. We’re going to drive by the place where Harmony was first assaulted, or where she was killed, or where she was ... crushed.”
Kayla Montgomery, Montgomery’s estranged wife and Harmony’s stepmother, told detectives in 2022 that they were in the car along with the couple’s other children when her husband carried out the attack after Harmony had a bathroom accident. Kayla, who is serving an 18-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to perjury charges, also told law enforcement that Montgomery went on to hide the body in a freezer for months before disposing of it.
The little girl’s disappearance and death went unreported for more than two years, until her mother, who lost custody due to a substance abuse problem, reported her missing in late 2021. A massive search for Harmony was announced on New Year’s Eve, and 10 months later Montgomery was charged with murder.
Harmony’s remains have never been found.
At the time of Harmony’s killing, the family had been living in their car after being evicted from their home in Manchester.
Kayla said Montgomery was driving to a fast food restaurant when he turned around and repeatedly punched Harmony in the face and head because he was angry that she was having bathroom accidents in the car.
“I think I really hurt her this time. I think I did something,” he said, according to Kayla.
Harmony made a “moaning type noise” for approximately five minutes “and then stopped,” Kayla told investigators.
No one checked on Harmony or stopped to get her medical attention.
They remained in the parking lot for 20 minutes before driving off again. In a second interview, Ms Montgomery admitted she and Mr Montgomery used heroin and fentanyl during this period.
It was only when their car, a Chrysler Sebring, broke down that she claimed the couple discovered “Harmony was not breathing” and had died.
Montgomery then allegedly placed Harmony’s lifeless body in a red duffel bag. While living in the parking lot, Ms Montgomery claimed her husband would occasionally leave Harmony’s body out in the snow to slow the rate of decomposition.
When the family moved in with Ms Montgomery’s mother and her boyfriend, Montgomery placed the duffel bag containing Harmony’s body in a red cooler in the common hallway of their apartment building.
After that, the Montgomerys moved into a shelter house, where the bag began to leak. Mr Montgomery reportedly put the duffel bag into a trash bag, and stowed it inside a vent shaft in the ceiling of their room.
Police officers later removed the entire section of the ceiling, including the vent, and found stains consistent with signs of decomposition.
Ms Montgomery gave detectives two different versions of how Montgomery then transferred Harmony’s body to a much smaller, maternity tote bag which “would not likely fit Harmony’s body unless it was dismembered or grossly distorted”.
She claimed that, in spring 2020, Montgomery rented a U-haul truck to dispose of Harmony’s body during the middle of the night. When he returned the next morning, he allegedly “said words to the effect of ‘it’s done’