Montgomery convicted of murdering his wife, gets 35 year sentence

Published 6:33 pm Thursday, June 23, 2022

BY: JARED DARWISH AND FIONA MORGAN

Colin Montgomery was convicted Wednesday for the murder of his wife, Jennifer, 27, four years ago. A Boyle County jury recommended a sentence of 35 years in prison.

Montgomery is guilty of fatally shooting his wife at their Shakertown Road home in Danville on March 6, 2018, the same day the couple signed divorce papers.

Jennifer Montgomery. Photo submitted by Joshua Descoteaux

The plaintiff’s attorneys argued for a charge of manslaughter, claiming their client was under severe emotional distress after his wife allegedly told him she was cheating on him. Prosecutors argued for a murder charge, saying that Montgomery learning of the affair was not a reasonable excuse for killing his wife, despite his anger and rage. A manslaughter charge would’ve led to about 17 years. Final sentencing will take place July 28.

Jennifer’s brother, Joshua Descoteaux, said he and his family are relieved at the verdict.

“There was four years and three months we had to wait and it was painstaking, but we are grateful and relieved for the verdict and the sentence to 35 years,” Descoteaux said.

Descoteaux said his family and Montgomery’s family were involved in a custody battle of Colin and Jennifer’s two children, which was only just resolved in March 2022. The families were awarded split custody.

Montgomery’s trial began on Monday. Throughout the trial, prosecution brought forth 12 witnesses and the defense brought forth one. Read about Tuesday’s witness testimonies here.

On Wednesday morning, Colin’s legal team took turns pleading their case to the jury.

Colin Montgomery mugshot from 2018

The defense began its testimony by showing the jury a police interview with the couple’s son, Kyler, who was in the house the night of the shooting.

In the recording, Kyler, then 7, told detectives, “I heard mom tell dad she is in love with another boy.”

Although the timeline is unclear, the boy then told detectives that a gun made its way into the mix with Colin telling his wife, Jennifer, to get out of the house shortly before shooting and killing her.

Defense moved to call Michael Dukes to the stand, the man with whom Jennifer was conducting the affair. Dukes told members of the court that the affair lasted a total of two weeks before the murder where they hung out frequently.

Although Dukes could not recall when the encounters exactly happened, defense brought to light records which showed Dukes telling detectives they had been together both days prior to the incident.

Jennifer and Dukes both worked at Toyota Maintenance in Danville, where their relationship began. At one point in his testimony, Dukes was asked if he knew of Colin Montgomery, his marriage to Jennifer, and their two children, which he responded yes to on all accounts.

The court called a recess around 9:25 a.m. so that both parties could prepare final arguments to the jury. The defense was first to give closing arguments at 11:13 a.m. when court had reconvened. 

“This case is a terrible tragedy; it is truly a sad story about loss for everyone,” Colin’s defense attorney Nathan Shirley said.

Shirley went on to say that Montgomery was a family man who did everything for his family and was creating his own “American Dream.”

They encouraged the jury to find Montgomery guilty of 1st degree manslaughter due a mental state called “Extreme Emotional Disturbance,” which they argued Montgomery was in when he fired the weapon.

“The killing of Jen was a spontaneous act caused by a temporary state of extreme emotion that was so powerful, that it overcame his judgment,’’ Shirley pleaded to the court for why Colin shot Jennifer after hearing of the affair.

Prosecution took the stand next to refute these claims by the defense and to ask the jury to find Montgomery guilty of murder.

“[Defense] described this as an American Dream, and it was anything but that; you already heard there was evidence of talks with a divorce attorney nearly a year before any of this happened,” Commonwealth Attorney Richie Bottoms said.

Part of the definition for “Extreme Emotional Disturbance” reads, “An enraged, inflamed, or disturbed emotional state does not constitute an extreme emotional disturbance unless there is a reasonable explanation or excuse.”

Bottoms argued that Montgomery finding out about the affair was not a reasonable excuse for killing his wife despite his anger and rage.

Bottoms also went on to argue that the shooting was not a spontaneous act like it was stated by the defense, because the defendant talked to his mother over the phone for more than three minutes before committing the crime.

The jury deliberated for about four hours and came back with a guilty verdict, convicting Colin of murder, around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Sentencing took place Thursday morning.

“Justice was finally served,” Descoteaux said.