Stepmother of slain 5-year-old Harmony Montgomery granted parole for perjury



CONCORD, N.H. — The estranged wife of a New Hampshire man convicted of killing his 5-year-old daughter and moving the body around for months was granted parole on Thursday, more than a year after she was sentenced to prison for lying about where she was when the child was last seen.

Kayla Montgomery, 33, is expected to be released in May, days before her husband is scheduled to be sentenced. She was ordered to complete mandatory prison programs related to substance abuse treatment and have an approved home plan. She will be under intense supervision for at least several months.

She should have spoken up so that authorities could find the girl and know what happened to her, she told the three-member panel of the New Hampshire Adult Parole Board during her hearing at the state correctional facility for women.

“I didn’t tell the truth about where I was during that time,” Montgomery said. “And not being able to cooperate with the detectives, I got all caught up in the situation and if I just was honest from the beginning, they could have done their job sooner.”

Harmony Montgomery’s case has exposed weaknesses in child protection systems and provoked calls to prioritize the well-being of children over parents in custody matters. Harmony Montgomery was moved between the homes of her mother and her foster parents multiple times before Adam Montgomery, her father, received custody in 2019 and moved to New Hampshire.

Michelle Raftery, who was a foster parent to Harmony Montgomery, attended Kayla’s hearing and cried as she heard the parole board’s decision. She declined to comment afterward.

Kayla Montgomery was the star witness against her husband during his two-week trial last month on second-degree murder and other charges in the death of his daughter.

Authorities believe Harmony Montgomery was killed on Dec. 7, 2019, but the child wasn’t reported missing for nearly two years after that. Her body has not been found.

Kayla Montgomery, her stepmother, has lost her parental rights to her own four children, three of them fathered by Adam Montgomery. She said she put in an appeal to get them back.

She was tearful at times answering the board’s questions about how she had suffered some missteps in not completing one treatment program and violating the rules of another by pretending to take her medication.

She eventually was allowed back into the program. “I’ve actually been working on myself,” she said.

Board member Tricia Thompson noted that Kayla Montgomery would face a lot of pressure in the community to be able to keep herself together and not lie.

“Once you tell one, you’re beat, because you’re not going to be able to keep up,” Thompson said.

“All I can do is take it one day at a time,” Kayla Montgomery said.

Kayla Montgomery pleaded guilty in 2022 to two perjury charges for lying during grand jury testimony about working at a doughnut shop on Nov. 30, 2019, the day she said she last saw Harmony. She was sentenced to at least 18 months in prison and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in their case against Adam.

In exchange, prosecutors dropped charges that Kayla also lied to state health officials about having the child in her care in order to collect welfare benefits and that she received stolen firearms.

Kayla Montgomery had testified that her family, including her two young sons with Adam Montgomery, had been evicted right before Thanksgiving in 2019 and were living in a car. She said on Dec. 7, Adam Montgomery punched Harmony Montgomery at several stop lights as they drove from a methadone clinic to a fast food restaurant because he was angry that the child was having bathroom accidents in the car.

After that, she said she handed food to the children in the car without checking on Harmony Montgomery and that the couple later discovered she was dead after the car broke down. She testified that her husband put the body in a duffel bag. She described various places where the girl’s body was hidden, including the trunk of a car, a cooler, a homeless center ceiling vent and the walk-in freezer at her husband’s workplace.

During Adam Montgomery’s trial, his lawyers suggested that Kayla continued to lie to protect herself. They said their client did not kill Harmony, and that Kayla Montgomery was the last person to see the child alive.

Kayla Montgomery testified that she didn’t come forward about the child’s death because she was afraid of her husband. She said Adam Montgomery suspected that she might go to the police, so he began punching her, giving her black eyes, she said. She eventually ran away from him in March 2021.

Last year, Kayla Montgomery testified in an unrelated case against her husband in which he was convicted of gun theft charges. He was sentenced to over 30 years in prison, taking a moment to proclaim his innocence in his daughter’s death.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *