LAS VEGAS – Four years ago, a Las Vegas man beat a 4-month-old baby to death with a medieval-style battle ax and critically wounded the child’s mother. Now, Harold Eugene Montague is pleading guilty, but mentally insane.
On Thursday, Montague, 38, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder with a deadly weapon, two counts of attempted murder and battery on a police officer.
Thanks to a plea deal with prosecutors, Montague will not face trial or the death penalty. He will, however, be imprisoned for life with no chance of parole.
At his sentencing on July 30, Montague will apologize to the families of the victims and explain his delusions.
“It will be important for everyone involved to hear Harold’s account,” Montague’s public defense lawyer, Norm Reed, said. “The story he tells is a delusional story. It’s been gut-wrenching for everybody.”
The February 2010 attack happened on a quiet residential street in Las Vegas.
Montague stabbed his disabled sister-in-law, Monica O’Dazier, approximately 20 times inside their home. He then burst out of the house and attacked Sonia Lisset Castro and her young son, Damian Avila Castro.
Montague killed 4-month-old Damian and gravely injured Castro.
As Castro begged Montague to stop attacking her and her child, Montague’s only response was to laugh and mock her.
A neighbor witnessed the attack and called 911. In the emergency call, which was played in court, the neighbor can be heard screaming, “Oh my God! Her face is split open where he hit her with the hatchet!”
The neighbor helped Castro directly after the incident, but has testified that the incident caused her to suffer an emotional breakdown: she spent seven days in psychiatric care.
At a preliminary hearing in April 2010, Castro testified that the attack split her face open and that her jaw had to be surgically reattached after the attack. She stated that her right eye was irreparably damaged.
Montague has said that he has no memory of the attacks.
His wife, Erricca Montague, testified that the weapon used in the attack had previously hung on the wall of their home. She noted that while she had never felt that her husband was a danger to her, their three children or her disabled sister, he had not been eating in the days before the attack and had spent multiple sleepless nights pacing the floor.
O’Dazier was treated for her injuries and survived the attack.