By DAMIEN FISHER, InDepthNH.org
MANCHESTER – Kayla Montgomery said she watched her husband beat his five-year-old daughter Harmony Montgomery to death, was forced to help him conceal the child’s rotting corpse, and was the victim of his violent, paranoid abuse.
But Kayla Montgomery still has feelings for Adam Montgomery, she tearfully testified Monday.
“I still care about him, because he’s the father of my children, he was my best friend, it’s been hard for me to let go,” she said.
Kayla Montgomery was on the stand again Monday in Adam Montgomery’s murder trial held in Hillsborough Superior Court — North in Manchester. The only person besides her estranged husband to know what happened to Harmony in December of 2019, Kayla Montgomery’s claims that Adam Montgomery killed the child is key to the state’s case.
Defense attorney Caroline Smith spent the day looking for inconsistencies in Kayla Montgomery’s story, which has shifted since police first began looking for the girl in 2021. Despite Smith’s efforts, Kayla Montgomery stuck to the story she told jurors last week, that Adam killed his daughter in a fit of rage because the child soiled herself. Smith even tried rattling Kayla Montgomery during the cross examination.
“That assault never happened, did it?” Smith said at one point.
“Yes, it did happen,” Kayla Montgomery responded.
Adam Montgomery was again absent, he’s declined to appear in court since the trial started.
Kayla Montgomery told police for close to a year that Adam Montgomery brought Harmony to her birth mother, Crystal Sorey, in November of 2019 when the family was evicted from their Manchester apartment. That was the story Adam Montgomery demanded she tell, using violence and threats to keep her in line, she testified.
That’s also the story Kayla Montgomery told a grand jury, perjuring herself several times. Kayla Montgomery is currently serving a prison sentence for perjury convictions, though she is eligible for parole in May.
According to the state’s case, Harmony died on the morning of Dec. 7, 2019, after Adam Montgomery repeatedly punched her in the face. When Kayla Montgomery weakly tried to stop the fatal assault, Adam Montgomery gave her a look of “pure evil.” That’s the version Kayla Montgomery told jurors.
Smith continued to ask about Kayla Montgomery’s conflicting motives for pointing the finger at Adam Montgomery. Kayla Montgomery was in jail in early 2022 on a theft charge for alleged welfare fraud when she wrote a note listing what she wanted in order to change her story. Along with immunity and custody of her children, Kayla Montgomery wrote she wanted to be alone with her husband one last time.
“A person with ‘pure evil’ is not someone you want to protect. A person with ‘pure evil’ is not someone you love,” Smith said.
Smith hammered Kayla Montgomery’s prior versions of Harmony’s death. According to Smith, the child died hours before while she was alone in the car with Kayla Montgomery and her two other young children. Smith has yet to allege a cause of Harmony’s death.
Harmony’s body has yet to be found.
Assistant Attorney General Christopher Knowles pointed out to jurors Kayla Montgomery never got immunity, she has lost custody of her children and is not allowed to contact them, and she is in state prison. When asked how she could stay with someone who abused her and murdered Harmony, Kayla Montgomery broke down in tears.
“I was scared and I still cared about him,” she said. “I don’t know, I was scared.”