Judge: Adam Montgomery must appear at sentencing

Posted at 10:33 AM, April 22, 2024

MANCHESTER, N.H. (Court TV) — Despite his attempts to skip his sentencing, just as he avoided appearing for the entirety of his murder trial, a judge has ruled that Adam Montgomery must appear in person to learn his fate.

Adam Montgomery appears in court

Adam Montgomery appears in court on June 1, 2023, for opening statements in his weapons trial. (Court TV)

Montgomery was convicted in February of beating his 5-year-old daughter, Harmony, to death. After her death, he admitted to putting her body into a duffel bag and a cooler and hiding it in both a walk-in refrigerator and a ceiling vent.

Though he appeared in court at a weapons trial months before the murder trial, where he was similarly convicted on all charges, he refused to come to hear testimony about Harmony’s murder.

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Adam was hoping to avoid returning to court for his sentencing and filed a motion asking Judge Amy Messer to exercise her discretion in excusing him from appearing. Prosecutors filed their own motion, urging the judge to compel his presence in the courtroom.

A little girl in glasses holds a doll

Harmony Montgomery is seen in an undated photo. (Manchester Police Department)

In an order signed on Friday, Judge Messer referenced state law that says a defendant, once convicted, must be present for victim impact statements as they’re read in court. The filing indicates that members of Harmony’s family and others are expected to testify.

The judge denied Adam’s request saying, “Were the court to accept the defendant’s request, it would be tantamount to excusing the defendant’s appearance simply because he did not wish to attend.” The judge authorized the Hillsborough County Sheriff to “take all necessary steps to ensure the defendant’s timely appearance” at the hearing on May 9.

Adam is already serving a sentence of at least 30 years after his earlier conviction at his weapons trial.