Pamela Smart

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Pamela Smart
Born (1967-08-16) August 16, 1967 (age 47)
Coral Gables, Florida
Occupation Media services consultant
Criminal charge
Accomplice to first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, witness tampering
Criminal penalty
Life without parole
(sentenced by New Hampshire)
Criminal status In custody at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility
(in New York)
Spouse(s) Greggory Smart
(m. 1989-1990, his death)
Children None
Parents John and Linda Wojas

Pamela Ann Smart (born August 16, 1967) is an American woman accused of conspiring with her 15 year-old lover, William "Billy" Flynn, and three of his friends, to kill her 24 year-old husband, Greggory Smart, on May 1, 1990, in Derry, New Hampshire. She was later convicted of being an accomplice to first-degree murder; conspiracy to commit murder; and witness tampering. She is currently serving a life sentence at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, a maximum security prison in Westchester County, New York.

Early life[edit]

Pamela Ann Wojas was born in Coral Gables, Florida. She was the second of three children, with her sister Elizabeth, six years older, and her brother John, three years younger. Her father worked as a commercial airline pilot, while her mother worked part-time as a legal secretary.

When she was in elementary school, she moved with her family to Windham, New Hampshire. Smart went to high school at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, where she was a cheerleader. After high school she went to college at Florida State University and graduated with honors with a communications degree in 1988 in a little more than three years, with an accomplished 3.85 grade point average. During her college radio career, Smart combined her passion for heavy metal music with her career aspirations. She hosted a one-night-a-week radio show at WVFS that she called “Metal Madness", using the alias "Maiden of Metal".

Pamela Wojas met Greggory Smart at a 1986 New Year's Eve party. They formed a serious relationship in February 1987 and married two years later.[1] They shared a passion for heavy metal music. Greg bought her a Shih Tzu and she named it "Halen" after her favorite rock group Van Halen. Seven months into the marriage, the Smarts began having serious problems in their relationship. She took a job as a media coordinator at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, New Hampshire.[2]

Smart met Winnacunnet High School student Billy Flynn at "Project Self-Esteem," a local drug awareness program at the school, in which both were volunteers. She was able to impress him with her interest in heavy metal music. Flynn, a sophomore, was always going out of his way to be helpful during the sessions and also visited Smart every day in her office. Smart also met another intern named Cecilia Pierce, who was friends with Flynn.

Murder of Gregg Smart[edit]

On May 1, 1990, Pamela Smart came home from a work meeting to find her condominium ransacked and her husband murdered. Police officials say the crime scene looked like a disrupted burglary. Smart was later accused of seducing 15-year-old William "Billy" Flynn and threatening to stop having sex with him unless he killed her husband. Flynn did so with the help of friends Patrick "Pete" Randall, Vance "J.R." Lattime Jr., and Raymond Fowler.[3][4][5] Flynn shot Greggory Smart as Randall held him down, while Lattime, the driver, waited in the getaway car outside with Fowler.[5]

During the investigation, J.R. Lattime's father brought a .38 caliber pistol he had found in his house to the police, believing it might have been the murder weapon. An anonymous tip also indicated that a teenager named Cecilia Pierce was aware of the plan. Police talked to Cecilia, who then agreed to wear a wire and record some conversations with Smart, in hopes that she would say something incriminating, which she did. On August 1, 1990, at 1:05 p.m., Detective Daniel Pelletier entered Smart’s office unannounced. Smart recognized him, having spoken to him on at least six other occasions. Taken by surprise, she asked, “What’s up?” “Well, Pam,” Pelletier said in the recording, “I have some good news and I have some bad news. The good news is that we’ve solved the murder of your husband. The bad news is you’re under arrest.” “What for?” Smart asked. “First-degree murder. Stand up and face the wall.” Smart was then handcuffed and arraigned in Derry District Court and taken to the Rockingham County Jail.

Trial[edit]

Smart's trial was widely watched and garnered considerable media attention; she faced life in prison if convicted. The prosecution's case relied heavily on testimony from Smart's teenaged co-conspirators, who had secured their own plea bargains before her trial began.

When oral argument commenced March 4, 1991, Assistant Attorney General Diane Nicolosi portrayed the teenagers as naive victims of an "evil woman bent on murder." The prosecution portrayed Pamela Smart as the cold-blooded mastermind who controlled her young lover. Nicolosi claimed that Smart seduced Flynn to get him to murder her husband, so that she could avoid an expensive divorce and benefit from a $140,000 life insurance policy. In her testimony, Smart acknowledged that she had an affair with the teenager, but claimed that the murder of her husband was solely the doing of Flynn and his friends, borne as a reaction to her telling Flynn that she wished to end their relationship and repair her marriage. She insisted that she neither participated in the murder plot nor had any foreknowledge of it. Though Flynn claimed he had fallen in love with Smart when he first met her,[6] Cecilia Pierce testified at trial that Smart and Flynn were originally just friends. Pierce first noticed a change around February, when Smart confessed to her that she "loved Bill." Flynn claims that he was a virgin before he had sex with Pamela Smart.

After a 14-day trial, Smart was found guilty on March 22, 1991, in the Rockingham County Superior Court of "being an accomplice to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and witness tampering."[7] This was largely as a result of the testimony of her co-conspirators and secretly taped conversations in which Smart appeared to contradict her claims of having wanted to reconcile with her husband and of having no knowledge of the boys' plot.[8] She could have been charged with capital murder, but the prosecution decided against it. Later that day she was given a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility for parole.[7]

Smart argues that the media had influenced her trial and conviction, as she explains in the 2014 HBO documentary Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart.[7]

Imprisonment[edit]

Smart is incarcerated at the maximum-security Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, Westchester County, New York, where she is serving a life sentence. Smart was transferred there from the New Hampshire State Prison for Women in Goffstown, New Hampshire in 1993 after state officials stated that New Hampshire did not have a secure enough facility to house her, the higher security necessary due to the high-profile nature of her case.[9] Although she has not admitted responsibility for her crimes, Smart has conceded that if she had not had an affair with Flynn, Gregg Smart would still be alive.[10][11] In prison, Smart has spent her time tutoring other inmates and has completed two master's degrees, in literature and legal studies,[12] which were paid for with private funds from Mercy College. Smart became a member of the National Organization for Women, campaigning for rights for women in prison.[13] Smart's co-defendants, William Flynn and Patrick Randall, were also transferred to prisons out of New Hampshire and are serving their sentences at the Maine State Prison in Warren, Maine.

In October 1996, Smart was severely beaten by inmates M. Graves and G. Miller, resulting in a metal plate being placed in the left side of her face. The two inmates beat her after accusing her of snitching on them about their prison relationship. Convicted of second-degree assault in an attack at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, the two inmates were transferred to separate prisons.[14] In 2003, after pictures of a scantily clad Smart were published in the National Enquirer; she was placed in solitary confinement. Smart sued, claiming the punishment was unfair treatment, but her lawsuit was dismissed.[15] In 2004, Smart and fellow inmate Carolyn Warmus sued officials of Bedford Hills, claiming sexual harassment, and also sexual assault by a corrections officer, who they claimed coerced them into posing for the suggestive pictures published in 2003.[16]

Pamela Smart is allowed among other items a radio, a typewriter, and 25 books in her jail cell. In her spare time, she says that she likes to read books and watch television with the other inmates, including Prison Break, which was a popular show among the inmates. The inmates like to prepare food, but Smart claims that she only has one meal a day because she has such a small appetite. Ever since she was severely beaten, she takes medication for chronic pain and sometimes thinks of suicide. Her counselor, Dr. Eleanor Pam, says that "she has many, many, many dark days." Smart says she still keeps track of Flynn because she regards him as being the key to her freedom. "He is one of the few people that could actually get me out of here, by coming forward and telling the truth, but he's never gonna do that," said Smart.

During her sentence, Smart took part in a writer’s workshop, facilitated by playwright Eve Ensler. The workshop and Smart’s writing were exhibited in the 2003 PBS documentary What I Want My Words to Do to You.[17]

Albert Johnson, Smart's attorney from Boston, Massachusetts, is nationally known for his high-profile clients, such as Patty Hearst and F. Lee Bailey. In April 2004, the First U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a 2002 ruling by a federal judge who rejected her federal habeas petition. Previous to her federal appeal, Smart had exhausted all judicial appeals at the state level. In July 2005, the New Hampshire Executive Council unanimously denied a pardon request for "any conditions the governor may seek to impose."

Smart is seeking a financial settlement from the state of New York. The New York attorney general's office is considering a settlement of Smart's 2006 lawsuit that accused prison officials of unfair treatment after the scantily clad photos of her in a jail cell appeared in a 2003 issue of the National Enquirer. According to court documents, Assistant Attorney General Maria Barous Hartofilis asked federal court Judge Robert W. Sweet for a two-month delay while the state considers the settlement offer for Smart that includes legal fees. The offer was made by Smart's attorney Nicholas Brook. In the lawsuit, Smart claims that, after the photos appeared in the tabloid, she was forced to spend two months in a 23-hour-a-day lockdown for filing the complaint. Smart also spends her time pondering the loss of a life outside of prison and still maintains hope of having children.[18] On November 5, 2009, a U.S. District Court Judge countenanced $23,875 to Smart from the state of New York.[19]

Aftermath[edit]

In 1992, William Flynn was sentenced to life in prison for second degree murder, eligible for parole in 40 years with 12 years years of the minimum sentence deferred if he maintains good behavior, making him eligible as early as 2018.[20] Flynn is incarcerated at the Maine State Prison in Warren, where he earned his GED, has been active in charity work and worked as an electrician at the prison. In 2007, Flynn sought a sentence reduction after serving 16 years, stating that he had vowed not to do so until he had spent as many years behind bars as he had spent free.[20] He also apologized to Gregg Smart's family for murdering him. The Smart family opposed the request.[20] On February 12, 2008, the request was denied, although Flynn's earliest parole eligibility date was reduced by three years to 25 years, making him eligible for parole in 2015.[21] In July 2014, Flynn was moved to a minimum security facility in Warren, Maine, allowing him to participate in a work release program.[22]

Like Flynn, Patrick Randall was also sentenced to life in prison for second degree murder, eligible for parole in 40 years with 12 years deferred, making him eligible as early as 2018.[23] He too is serving his sentence at the Maine State Prison in Warren, Maine. In March 2009, a judge reduced Randall's minimum sentence by three years to 25 years, making him eligible for release as early as June 2015.[23][24]

Co-conspirator and driver Vance Lattime was sentenced to life in prison for accomplice to second degree murder, eligible for parole in 30 years with 12 years suspended, making him eligible in 2008.[25] In 2005, his minimum sentence was reduced by three years, and he was paroled that same year.[25]

Co-conspirator Raymond Fowler, who waited in the car during the killing, was sentenced to 30 years for conspiracy to murder and attempted burglary, eligible for parole after 15 years.[26] Fowler was paroled in 2003, but was sent back to prison in 2004 for violating his parole terms.[27][28] He was paroled again in June 2005.[29]

Cecilia Pierce, who was one of Pamela Smart's student interns at the time of the murder, signed a $100,000 option for the screen rights to her story.

In an interview with ABC News, Smart indicated she is afraid of growing old and dying in prison and would rather have had the death penalty than life.[30]

Trivia[edit]

  • The case was the basis for the Law & Order season two episode "Renunciation".
  • Scorned: Love Kills, a series on the Investigation Discovery channel, dedicated an episode to the story on February 11, 2012.
  • Dean J. Smart, brother of murder victim Gregg Smart, released Skylights and Screendoors (ISBN13: 978-1-936680-02-3), his memoir, on April 7, 2011.
  • Smart appeared on Oprah on October 22, 2010. On the show, Smart claimed she was innocent and believes that her sentence for life in prison is too harsh.
  • The character of Becky Burgess in feminist writer Marge Piercy's novel The Longings of Women (ISBN 978-1570420443) was inspired by Pamela Smart and the conspiracy to kill Greggory Smart.[31]
  • The crime series American Justice played an episode on the case "Crime of Passion: The Pamela Smart Story."
  • The case is referenced on Psych, on the Season 5 episode "Dual Spires", where a character is said to be "pulling a Pamela Smart" after she has allegedly killed a young girl while having a sexual relationship with an underage boy.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Gregory Smart (1965 - 1990)". FindAGrave.com. 17 Jan 2003. 
  2. ^ Kerr, p. 3.
  3. ^ Kerr, p. 6.
  4. ^ Kerr, p. 8.
  5. ^ a b Kerr, p. 10.
  6. ^ Kerr, p. 4.
  7. ^ a b c "Teacher Says Her Conviction Was a Surprise". The New York Times. Associated Press. 1 Apr 1991. p. A11. 
  8. ^ Kerr, p. 13.
  9. ^ "Woman in Plot to Kill Husband Shifts Prisons". The New York Times. 12 Mar 1993. p. A14. 
  10. ^ Dinan, Elizabeth (20 Feb 2005). "Life, With Nothing To Lose". The Portsmouth Herald. 
  11. ^ "Sentence". official Pamela Smart web site. 8 Oct 2008. 
  12. ^ "Pamela Smart Maintains Innocence in Prison". Good Morning America (ABC News). 19 Dec 2007. 
  13. ^ O’Connor, James V. (29 Dec 1996). "NOW Chapter Thrives Among Inmates". The New York Times. p. 13WC-1. 
  14. ^ Fitzgerald, Jim (5 Dec 1997). "2 inmates guilty of beating Pamela Smart". South Coast Today. Associated Press. 
  15. ^ "Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Brought by Pamela Smart". WCSH6.com. Associated Press. 30 Jul 2006. 
  16. ^ Cosby, Rita (13 Feb 2006). "Inmate Pam Smart sues jail and guard for sexual assault". MSNBC. 
  17. ^ What I Want My Words to Do to You at the Internet Movie Database
  18. ^ Cronin, Patrick (7 Oct 2008). "N.Y. May Settle Smart Lawsuit". Hampton Union. 
  19. ^ http://www.shnock.com/pamela-smart-prison-photos-5815
  20. ^ a b c "Pamela Smart's former teen lover seeks sentence reduction". WCSH6.com. Associated Press. 23 Oct 2007. 
  21. ^ Gunman in Smart case denied release February 12, 2008
  22. ^ Kyle Stucker (2014-07-12). "Greg Smart's killer, Billy Flynn, out of jail on work release". Seacoast Media Group. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  23. ^ a b Elizabeth Dinan (2009-05-17). "Early release awarded to conspirator in Pam Smart murder". Seacoast Media Group. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  24. ^ Judge cuts sentence for accomplice in Smart murder case March 14, 2009
  25. ^ a b Beverley Wang (Associated Press) (2005-07-14). "Driver in Smart murder granted parole". Concord Monitor. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  26. ^ Beverley Wang (Associated Press) (2005-06-15). "Pamela Smart Accomplice Released". Concord Monitor. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  27. ^ Zezima, Katherine (4 Apr 2003). "Parole In ‘To Die For’ Killing". The New York Times. p. A18. 
  28. ^ "Man Convicted In Gregory Smart Death Behind Bars Again". WNNE/WPTZ.com. 28 Jul 2004. 
  29. ^ Morse, Susan (25 Jan 2008). "Fowler family speaks about shooter Flynn's request". seacoastonline.com. 
  30. ^ "Pamela Smart Maintains Innocence in Prison". Good Morning America (ABC News). 19 Dec 2007. 
  31. ^ Volk, Patricia (March 20, 1994). "The Three of Them". The New York Times. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  32. ^ imdb.com

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