New Hampshire prosecutors say the wife of Adam M. Montgomery told police in June that her husband murdered his daughter, 5-year-old Harmony Montgomery, in December 2019, new court records show.
Kayla Montgomery, 32, was arrested June 3 after the New Hampshire attorney general’s office charged her with two counts of perjury regarding the search for the missing child, court records show. Prosecutors said she told police that day that her husband killed Harmony and encouraged her to lie to investigators about the girl’s whereabouts.
“During her June 3 interview, Kayla reported to police that Harmony had been murdered in December 2019 by the defendant [Adam Montgomery],” prosecutors wrote. “Kayla also said that the defendant had encouraged her on multiple occasions to lie to police about Harmony’s whereabouts, basically giving Kayla a ‘cover story’ and telling her that as long as she stuck to the cover story everything would be OK.”
Kayla Montgomery’s accusation was not disclosed in court papers filed when Adam Montgomery was indicted this week on charges of fatally beating his daughter, but in a parallel prosecution of Montgomery for illegal gun sales, being an armed career criminal, and being a felon in possession of firearms.
Adam Montgomery’s lawyers said they are furious that prosecutors waited until October to let them know that Kayla Montgomery accused her husband of murder four months ago when she spoke with prosecutors about the gun sales case.
The delay violated his constitutional right to know all the evidence against him, as well as prosecutors’ ethical obligations, the lawyers argued in court papers.
Her statements “completely changed the landscape of the gun cases,” they wrote. “The delayed disclosure of more than four months by the State ... is profoundly prejudicial and violates Mr. Montgomery’s rights to due process and to a fair trial.”
The only “appropriate remedy,” they added, was to preclude Kayla Montgomery from testifying at trial.
Attorney General John Formella’s office said sharing the information with Adam Montgomery’s lawyers would have hindered the investigation into Harmony’s death and possibly locating her remains, which have not been found.
The October disclosure “was not some sort of scheme to gain an unfair advantage over the defendant,” prosecutors wrote. “The State [was] in the position of either disclosing to the defendant that Kayla had agreed to be interviewed and had told police that he murdered Harmony, or keeping this information confidential.”
“An important factor in this balance is that Kayla had also told police about the defendant engaging in witness tampering towards her regarding her knowledge of Harmony’s murder,” prosecutors continued.
Signaling that Kayla Montgomery now plays a key role in the case, prosecutors are asking a judge to bar the defense from telling jurors that Kayla is accused of lying to a grand jury and to the state’s welfare agency so she could collect payments after she allegedly knew Harmony was no longer alive.
“If the jury were to hear that Kayla Montgomery has pending charges of perjury and theft by deception, the names of those charges may cause the jury to draw improper inferences as to Kayla Montgomery’s character for truthfulness or untruthfulness,” prosecutors wrote, noting that she has not been convicted of a crime.
Jury selection in the trial for illegal gun sales among other charges is scheduled for Nov. 7.
Montgomery, 32, allegedly killed his daughter “by repeatedly striking Harmony in the head with a closed fist” on Dec. 7, 2019, in Manchester N.H. He is charged with second-degree murder for “recklessly causing” the death of his daughter under circumstances “manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life,” Formella said.
Montgomery was also charged with “altering, destroying, concealing, or removing” Harmony’s body between the day of her death and March 4, 2020, and tampering with witnesses by trying to get Kayla Montgomery lie to investigators. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Jeremiah Manion of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Material from earlier Globe coverage was used in this report.