Daman Smoot pleads guilty to killing Adam Brundage; sentenced to 20-40 years in prison
Justice was finally served for the family of Adam Brundage, nearly 16 years after the young Quakertown father went missing.
Daman Andrew Smoot pleaded guilty Monday to killing Brundage in October 2004 at a quarry in Hilltown Township, a cold case that was solved earlier this year by Quakertown Borough Police and Bucks County Detectives.
Smoot, 37, appeared before Common Pleas Judge Brian T. McGuffin and pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and was promptly sentenced to 20 to 40 years in state prison.
McGuffin thanked law enforcement for never giving up on Brundage's case.
"This is the closest to justice we can get," he said.
At the emotional court hearing, Brundage's mother, sister and aunt all traveled from out of state to give victim impact statements, calling for Smoot to get the highest sentence possible. His grandmother also provided an impact statement by video.
“My family was handed an undeserved and cruel lifetime sentence,” Brundage's sister April Talley told the judge.
She said growing up in Iowa, her and her brother were inseparable, and not knowing where he was for nearly 16 years was torture on their family.
Even after his remains were recovered at a Hilltown Township quarry, the family's nightmare continued when learning the brutal details of how he was killed.
“Daman Smoot has inflicted endless suffering on this family,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer M. Schorn said in court Monday.
Smoot and Brundage met through mutual friends and were roommates at Brundage’s Glen Meadow Court home for only a few weeks before his murder.
Earlier this year, after the investigation into Brundage's disappearance was re-opened, Smoot told investigators he killed Brundage the evening of Oct. 4, 2004, at the quarry on Skunk Hollow Road in Hilltown Township where Smoot worked, according to a criminal complaint.
The men had gone to the quarry for sand to fix a grading issue at Brundage’s residence. An argument between the two ensued, ending when Smoot struck Brundage in the head with a baseball bat. Smoot then used his hand to cover Brundage’s mouth and nose until he died. Smoot then buried Brundage’s body at the quarry.
Following the killing, Smoot continued to live in Brundage’s home and provided numerous inconsistent accounts about Brundage’s whereabouts, the criminal complaint says.
Quakertown Borough Police Department and the Bucks County Detectives re-opened the investigation in April 2019 and numerous investigative resources were employed.
Confronted earlier this month with the evidence against him, the criminal complaint states, Smoot agreed to give up the location of Brundage’s remains and enter a guilty plea to third-degree murder. In exchange, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office will recommend a penalty of 20 to 40 years of incarceration. Working from specific information about the body’s location, a team of investigators dug through the day and into the evening Jan. 16 when Brundage’s remains were recovered.
Quakertown Police and County Detectives were assisted in this investigation by the Hilltown Township Police Department, the FBI, Montgomery County Detectives, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Pennsylvania State Police Human Remains Detection Handler Trooper Joseph Carlson and K9 Jack, the Bucks County Coroner’s Office and the Bucks County Sheriff’s Office.
The case was prosecuted by Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer M. Schorn.
After the sentencing, District Attorney Matt Weintraub talked about the end of the case and how knowing Smoot is behind bars for several decades will provide some sense of comfort to Brundage's family.
"I hope his family has some peace now," he said. "If you listened to the victim impact testimony, they do."
At the time charges were filed, the case was the third cold case homicide solved by Bucks County detectives in the past five years, which Weintraub said shows that families who lose loved ones should never give up hope because police and prosecutors in Bucks County will never give up trying to get them justice.
"If you're a police agency and you have a cold case, a case where somebody is missing but you suspect foul play, whether it’s a year, years or even decades, bring that case to us," he said. "Let’s never give up."
"And if you’re a member of the public that is wondering about a lost loved one and you suspect foul play, never give up hope because we will never give up.
"We will never rest until we solve all of these cases and get some finality for you and bring your lost loved ones back, and seek justice for any harm that has been caused to them."
Contact: Manuel Gamiz Jr., 215.348.6298, email@example.com