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‘I did not kill my daughter Harmony’: Adam Montgomery sentencing hearing on gun crime convictions takes an unexpected turn toward upcoming murder trial

Adam Montgomery speaks in court during his sentencing for gun crimes.

Adam Montgomery speaks in court during his sentencing for gun crimes on Aug. 7, 2023 (Screengrab via WMUR)

Adam Montgomery, 33, the father of long-missing and presumed dead 5-year-old New Hampshire girl Harmony Montgomery, insisted he did not murder his daughter during his sentencing hearing on several firearm-related offenses late Monday afternoon.

“I did not kill my daughter Harmony,” the defendant said when asked if he would like to address the court. “I’m looking forward to my upcoming trial so I can refute those offensive claims.”

“I could have had a meaningful life, but I blew that opportunity through drugs,” he went on. “But I loved my daughter unconditionally and I did not kill her, so please don’t consider anything that relates to those charges, only consider the facts of this case.”

New Hampshire Superior Court Justice Amy Messer, for her part, said the court was not going to consider the murder case – before handing the defendant a sentence in excess of 32 years – at the bare minimum.

In June, Adam Montgomery was convicted on two counts of theft by unauthorized taking for stealing a rifle and a shotgun from a friend’s home in Manchester. He was also convicted on two counts of receiving stolen property for retaining the guns and a count each of being an armed career criminal, for possessing the rifle, and for possessing the shotgun. An armed career criminal is defined as having been convicted of three or more qualifying felonies.

The judge gave the defendant 15-30 year sentences for each armed career criminal offense – and ordered that those sentences will run consecutively, or, one after another. The court also imposed lesser sentences of 7 1/2 to 15 years for each of the two theft charges – which will run concurrently to one another, or, at the same time, but consecutively to the armed career criminal offenses.

In sum, Adam Montgomery could spend just shy of 90 years in prison, altogether, for gun crimes.

Two lone bright spots for the defendant were noted by Justice Messer. He will be credited 580 days in prison for the time he spent in pretrial detention, and five years of his theft sentences could be suspended if he maintains good behavior in prison.

The state did not seek prison time for the receiving stolen goods charges.

The defendant originally faced eight gun-related offenses in an April 2022 indictment that stem from the theft of the two guns in question.

Defense attorney Caroline L. Smith implored the court to impose mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years for the armed career criminal offenses.

“Here the crime as presented by the state was a crime of opportunity, it did not involve violence, although anyone would say theft is a level of violence, but we don’t have an assault of anybody, we don’t have physical harm to anybody,” the defendant’s attorney argued. “This is a crime of opportunity based on an addiction and to fuel that addiction.”

Smith went on to say that her client did not commit a crime that involved an attempt to steal guns and fire them on someone else but, rather, in order to sell them for “money for drugs or for drugs themselves.”

Those efforts, in the end, did not pan out.

Adam Montgomery’s defense attorney also took note of the murder trial looming in the background.

“It plays a major role and it shouldn’t,” she said – arguing that even the basic fact that her client was facing gun charges was because law enforcement may have been looking for “leverage” against the defendant and/or his estranged wife.

Justice Messer sought to ease those fears before issuing her formal ruling.

“The state is not requesting that the court consider your other pending charges here,” she said, addressing the defendant directly. “I want to tell you that the court is not.”

“But the court notes that there are a significant number of aggravating factors here,” the judge went on. “These predicate offenses are particularly egregious. The guns were stolen, there was a child in the house, the guns were maintained while you yourself had children in the home.”

There was buying and selling back and forth of guns, the court added, including to a convicted sex offender.

“You bragged about the guns being hidden in the walls of your home,” Messer continued – rejecting the defense’s contention that this was just a case of drug addict gone bad. “The gun violence has taken a toll on our community, particularly the young people here.”

Adam Montgomery was also ordered to have no contact with the people he stole the guns from.

Before the sentence was issued, a prosecutor chimed in to say that the state also looks forward to Adam Montgomery’s upcoming murder trial – which is slated to begin in November.

A key witness in those proceedings will be Kayla Montgomery, 32, who previously lied to law enforcement about Harmony Montgomery’s whereabouts. Later, she said her husband coerced her into repeating those lies to a grand jury about the circumstances surrounding her stepdaughter’s death.

She was charged with two counts of perjury for those lies and initially pleaded not guilty but later accepted a plea deal, admitting legal culpability and agreeing to testify against her estranged husband in exchange for a sentencing reduction and the dismissal of other charges against her.

Kayla Montgomery pleaded guilty to those perjury counts in June after testifying against Adam Montgomery during his trial on the gun theft charges and was sentenced to a minimum of 18 months in prison.

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