‘I offer no excuses for my actions and behavior’
Pamela Smart apologizes to her husband’s family for the first time as she loses final appeal against life sentence: Recruited lover, 15, to shoot and kill her husband in 1990
Pamela Smart, aged 23, in 1991 was convicted of conspiring with her 15 year-old lover, William Flynn, to kill her husband Gregory Smart, 24, on May 1, 1990, in Derry, NH
Smart, 54, was denied a reduction for her life sentence over the murder of her husband – having consistently maintained she is innocent in the face of a mountain of evidence, even after her her conviction
Smart, who was convicted of plotting the murder of Gregory Smart by seducing New Hampshire student William Flynn failed in multiple appeals, the last in December
Despite denying playing any role in the murder for more than 30 years, she finally apologized, but her final appeal was rejected by a state council
‘Decades of lies cannot be undone in an instant by newfound claims of remorse,’ the state’s associate attorney general wrote when denying the request
The murder and subsequent trial shocked the nation and became the basis for a novel that was adapted into the 1995 Nicole Kidman movie ‘To Die For’
No, a late apology couldn’t will no ameliorate the restitution prescribed for a heinous crime. That was the lesson for an infamous killer who as a married woman of 22, got her 15-year-old lover to murder her husband in 1990. Pamela Smart failed in her last-ditch attempt to have her life sentence reduced after apologizing for her crimes for the first time.
54-year-old Smart’s bid for freedom was unanimously rejected 5-0 by an appellate panel in New Hampshire this week, three decades after the former high school worker got her underage boyfriend William Flynn to shoot and kill her 24 year-old newly wedded husband, Gregory Smart. That crime was 32 years ago.
‘I offer no excuses for my actions and behavior,’ she said in a recorded statement that was sent as a DVD to the attorney general´s office in December. ‘I’m to blame.’
She continued: ‘I regret that it took me so long to apologize to the Smart family, my own family, and everyone else. But I think that I wasn’t at a place where I was willing to own that or face that.’
‘I was young and selfish and I wasn’t thinking about the consequences of what I was doing.’
In the state’s response, Jeffery Strelzin, associate attorney general, wrote that Smart has told a false narrative for over 30 years and just because she’s decided to change that now ‘does not mean that she has truly changed and fully acknowledged all the crimes she committed as an accomplice and conspirator in her husband´s murder, and the perpetrator of witness tampering.’
‘Decades of lies cannot be undone in an instant by newfound claims of remorse and a vague acceptance of responsibility,’ Strelzin, who opposed a sentence reduction, added.
Smarts appeal after he took 30 years to admit her guilt or issue an apology, leading the appellate panel to rule that she’d only been telling them what they wanted to hear, and that she wasn’t to be trusted.
Smart issued an apology for the first time via a DVD recording, which also saw her finally own up to her crimes, but the panel deciding her fate was unimpressed.
It was the third appeal made by Smart, who was jailed for life without parole in 1991, meaning she must now spend the rest of her life behind bars.
Smart, whose crime inspired the 1995 Nicole Kidman movie To Die For, apologized to Smart’s family since her last appeal, but that attempt at contrition proved unsuccessful.
‘I am absolutely convinced that there´s no evidence or argument’ to grant a commutation request, councilor Janet Stevens said during a short discussion.
Smart, 22, was media coordinator at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, when she began an affair with 15-year-old student William ‘Billy’ Flynn, despite being was married for a year.
On May 1, 1990, Flynn and his high school friend Patrick Randall entered the Smarts’ Derry condominium and forced Gregg Smart to his knees in the foyer.
As Randall held a knife to the target’s throat, Flynn fired a hollow-point bullet into his head.
Flynn along with Randall and two other accomplices, were later convicted in the murder of Gregory Smart.
Although she denied knowledge of the plot, Pamela Smart was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and other crimes and sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.
The student lover, William Flynn and his pal Patrick Randall as well as the two other teens – who cooperated with prosecutors – served shorter sentences and have been released in 2015.
Smart was consistent in denying involvement in the plot for over three decades, before admitting fault.
The murder and subsequent trial shocked the nation.
Ultimately, the jury found that Pamela Smart had seduced 15-year-old William Flynn and coerced him to kill her husband Gregory Smart.
Although she denied any connection to the murder of Gregory for more than 30 years, Smart finally admitted fault to it in her last appeal, which was denied
Smart’s trial was a media circus and one of the first high-profile cases about a sexual affair between a school staff member and a student.
It was the first murder trial in history to be broadcast on television gavel-to-gavel.
Smart was convicted in 1991 by a jury in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, and is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at a maximum-security prison in Bedford Hills, New York.
She appealed the decision all the way to the Supreme Court, which declined to hear her case.
She had been applying for clemency since 2004. She was denied commutation in 2019 after the attorney general’s office said she ‘never accepted full responsibility’ for her actions and there was overwhelming evidence.
Joyce Maynard wrote ‘To Die For’ in 1992, drawing from the Smart case, which went on to inspire a 1995 film of the same name, starring Nicole Kidman and Joaquin Phoenix.
Flynn testified that Smart convinced him that her husband had to be killed because, she feared she would lose everything if they divorced, adding that she threatened to break up with him if he didn’t kill Gregory Smart. Flynn would go on to shoot Gregory Smart in the head with a .38-caliber revolver, with the help of three friends.
Smart who has admitted seducing Flynn but said she didn’t plan her husband’s murder was convicted and jailed in New Hampshire. She was later moved to a women’s prison in New York state for security reasons.
After 31 years of prison in Bedford Hills, New York, murder convict Pamela Smart has earned two masters degrees, tutored fellow inmates, has been ordained as a minister, and is part of an inmate liaison committee.
To buttress her her last appeal, many letters of support from inmates, supervisors and others were included.
In a change of tactic, besides claiming that she is remorseful and has been rehabilitated. Furthermore, the appeal noted pardons granted to three other women in New Hampshire in murder cases.
The state however, countered that the cases involved the less serious charge of second-degree murder. Besides, those women did not entice a juvenile to commit murder. It proved to be no different from when in an earlier attempt, Smart who has consistently lobbied for her release, demanded after Flynn was granted parole that if the person who pulled the trigger could be freed, she deserves the same chance.