Judge denies Adam Montgomery’s request to sever cases

Posted at 1:04 PM, January 26, 2024 and last updated 9:43 AM, January 26, 2024

MANCHESTER, N.H. (Court TV) — A judge has denied Adam Montgomery’s request to sever charges against him when he stands trial for the death of his 5-year-old daughter, Harmony Montgomery.

Adam is scheduled to go to trial Feb. 6. He’s charged with second-degree assault for an alleged July 2019 incident involving Harmony. He’s also charged with second-degree murder, tampering with witnesses, falsifying physical evidence and abuse of a corpse for allegedly killing Harmony in Dec. 2019.

combo image of Adam and harmony montgomery

(L) Adam Montgomery (Manchester, NH PD)/ (R) Harmony Montgomery (Manchester Police Dept.)

Earlier this month, Adam asked the court to sever the assault and murder dockets. The request came after a Jan. 11 meeting between prosecutors and Kayla Montgomery, Adam’s estranged wife who told authorities he murdered Harmony. Following the meeting, prosecutors notified Adam’s defense of “three purported changes or additions to Kayla’s account of the circumstances leading to Harmony’s death in the form of a ‘Zwicker letter’,” according to court documents obtained by Court TV.

Adam’s attorneys argued the Zwicker letter alerted them to a “substantial change in evidence” and that the State “now portrays the second-degree assault and second-degree murder charges as mere parts of a larger, pervasive, and sustained pattern of abuse.” Ultimately, the defense argued keeping the dockets together “would result in unfair prejudice to the defendant.”

In their order denying the motion, Judge Amy Messer cited commonality in the dockets: “The defendant is the common perpetrator and Harmony is the common victim” and Kayla is a “central witness in both cases.” Among other factors, the judge also cited “significant duplication” of witnesses, testimony and evidence.

In a separate order, the judge addressed Adam’s request to prevent prosecutors from showing some key pieces of evidence to the jury. Previously, his attorneys asked that an encounter Adam had with police on Dec. 31, 2021, before his arrest, be excluded from evidence. They also asked the judge to prevent the prosecution from introducing evidence that he purchased lime, a metal-cutting blade and a grinder from Home Depot.

The judge ruled the police encounter will not be excluded, but did limit the prosecution on their intent to introduce evidence of Adam’s “demeanor.” The ruling also limits some of the evidence surrounding Adam’s weapons convictions and other incidents of alleged abuse against Kayla and Harmony. The judge denied Adam’s request to prevent evidence of the Home Depot purchases.

Montgomery is currently serving a decades-long prison sentence in a weapons theft case. At sentencing, he denied killing Harmony.