By Elizabeth Dinan
Hampton Union, Sunday, January 20, 2013
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Pamela Smart, one of the world's most infamous inmates, is being urged by a group of supporters to petition the new governor of New Hampshire for a chance at parole, said Eleanor Pam, a self-described "strong advocate" for Smart.
"Those who are her supporters, including and especially me, are eager for her to appeal to the new governor through the New Hampshire Executive Council," Pam said. "We are hopeful, and do believe, that the governor will be open to reviewing the facts of the case fairly and that Pamela will finally receive relief from endless, cruel and pointless suffering behind bars for an act she did not commit."
But according to a spokesman for New Hampshire's newly elected Gov. Maggie Hassan, any request from Smart for a pardon is a long shot.
Smart, now 45, is incarcerated at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York for enlisting her teenage lover William "Billy" Flynn, and three of his friends, to kill her husband Gregory on May 1, 1990. During a jailhouse interview with Seacoast Media Group eight years ago, Smart said she regretted her affair with Flynn, the confessed trigger man, but turned to him because she was flattered by the schoolboy's attention.
A media coordinator at Winnacunnet High School at the time of her husband's murder, Smart said during the SMG interview that if she had planned to kill her husband, which she denied, the plot wouldn't have involved teenagers.
Pam, her advocate, said last week that she's certain Smart "has not been involved, either directly or indirectly, as an accessory in the murder of her husband." She said she's been "urging" Smart to petition Hassan for parole, adding that, "when the time is appropriate, I believe she will, in accordance with counsel, pursue this option."
A message seeking Hassan's comment last week was returned by her spokesman, Marc Goldberg, who said, "Gov. Hassan feels that a pardon should only be considered in instances where there has been a clear miscarriage of justice."
"In this case," he said, "the governor believes Pamela Smart was justly and fairly convicted for her crimes by a jury of her peers and that there has never been credible information presented to warrant consideration of a pardon."
A majority of the Executive Council could grant Smart access to a parole board, but state law gives the governor veto power over the council.
In 2005, Smart petitioned for commutation of her life-without-parole sentence. At the time, Gov. John Lynch was quoted saying, "I do believe that Pamela Smart's crimes were brutal. She was fairly convicted by a jury of New Hampshire citizens and she was fairly sentenced." The Executive Council followed Lynch's lead by voting unanimously to deny Smart a pardon hearing, which would have released her from prison with time served. That denial followed several failed appeals, during which Smart argued she didn't receive a fair trial because of the massive media attention her trial attracted.
Flynn, who was 16 when he shot Gregory Smart in the head with a .38-caliber handgun, is now 38 years old. He was convicted for second-degree murder, a reduction from first-degree murder, in exchange for his cooperation with the prosecution of Smart.
While behind bars, Flynn earned a GED and an electrician's apprentice license, and married a former executive assistant to the Wiscasset, Maine, superintendent of schools. Incarcerated in Maine, he's eligible for parole on June 4, 2015, according to Jeffrey Lyons of the N.H. Department of Corrections.
Co-defendant Patrick "Pete" Randall, 39, who restrained Gregory Smart in his Derry condo while Flynn pulled the trigger, is also incarcerated in Maine. In 2009, he appeared before Rockingham Superior Court Judge Kenneth McHugh, where he was described as remorseful, matured and having accepted responsibility for the crime. Through attorney Mark Stevens, Randall successfully petitioned the court for a 3-year reduction of his minimum 25-year sentence, making him eligible for parole in 2015.
Stevens also represented codefendant Vance "J.R." Lattime Jr., now 39, who provided the getaway car and handgun used during the murder. He was convicted for burglary and being an accomplice to murder and released from prison on Aug. 8, 2005. Lattime is now under supervised parole out of Exeter, said Lyons, and his parole expires May 23, 2060.
Raymond Fowler, now 41, who drove the getaway car from the murder scene, was released from prison April 21, 2003. Lyons said Fowler's parole ends on July 23, 2013.