Pamela Smart: Wikis

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Pamela Smart
Born August 16, 1967 (1967-08-16) (age 42)
Coral Gables, Florida
Charge(s) Second degree murder
Penalty Life without parole
Status Imprisoned
Occupation Inmate
Spouse Gregory Smart (deceased)
Parents John and Linda Wojas
Children None

Pamela Ann Smart (born August 16, 1967) is serving a life sentence for accomplice to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and witness tampering in New Hampshire. Smart was convicted for conspiring with her 15-year-old lover, William Flynn, and his three friends to kill her 24-year-old husband, Gregory Smart in Derry, New Hampshire in 1990.

Contents

Early life

Pamela Ann Wojas was born in Coral Gables, Florida in southwestern Miami. She is 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. Pamela had a horrible relationship with her father, which had caused her to become emotionally close to her mother.

When she was in elementary school, she moved with her family to Derry, New Hampshire. Smart went to high school at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, where she was a cheerleader, cheering for both basketball and football teams. Pamela liked to maintain control of herself and of her surroundings. She compulsively organized her clothing in color-coordinated groupings, even neatly folding her dirty laundry into separate hampers for darks and whites. She also organized her life that way, becoming upset when her schedule was disrupted. 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, Pamela combined her passion for heavy metal music with her career aspirations. She hosted a one-night-a-week radio show at Florida State University that she called “Metal Madness", using the alias "Maiden of Metal".

Pamela Wojas met Gregory Smart at a 1986 New Year's Eve party. They formed a serious relationship in February 1987, and married two years later.[1] They both shared a passion for heavy metal music. Greg bought Pam a Shih Tzu and she named it "Halen" after her favorite rock group Van Halen. Seven months into the Smart's marriage, they began having serious problems in their relationship. As they neared their first wedding anniversary Gregory Smart admitted he was having an affair. After this every time they argued Pam mentioned the affair. A couple months into her marriage she took a job as a media coordinator at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, New Hampshire.[2] Smart met one of her students Billy Flynn at "Project Self-Esteem" a local drug awareness program at the school, in which Smart and Flynn were both volunteers. All freshmen were expected to participate in the program. She was able to impress them with her interest in heavy metal music. Smart was also employed as a media services coordinator with the Hampton school board,[3] and Flynn was a sophomore. She had also met another intern named Cecilia Pierce who was friends with Billy Flynn. Flynn was always going out of his way to be helpful during the sessions and also visited Pam every day in her office.

Murder of her husband

On May 1, 1990, Smart claims she came home from a work meeting to find her condominium ransacked and her husband murdered. This was one of the first murders in Derry, New Hampshire, being the only homicide investigation in Derry in 1990. 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 have no more 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 on May 1, 1990.[4][5][6] Flynn shot Gregory Smart as Randall held him down, while Lattime, the driver, waited in the getaway car outside with Fowler.[6]

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, and she 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. 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 into the Derry District Court and jailed at the Rockingham County Jail, having been arrested for the murder of her husband.

Trial

Smart's trial was widely watched and garnered considerable media attention; she faced life in prison if convicted. 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 had an affair with the teenager, but claimed that the murder of her husband was solely the doing of Flynn and his friends, born 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,[3] Cecilia Pierce was to testify at trial that Smart and Flynn were originally just friends. She first noticed a change around February, when Smart confessed to Pierce that she "loved Bill." Flynn claims that he was a virgin before he had sex with Pamela Smart.

Smart was found guilty on March 22, 1991 in the Rockingham County Superior Court after a 14-day trial, 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 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] Smart argued that the media had influenced her trial and conviction.[7] She could have been charged with capital murder, but the prosecution decided against it. Later that day she was given a mandatory sentence to life in prison without the possibility for parole. The trial of Pamela Smart was the first fully televised case in the United States watched by millions of people on live television. [7]

Imprisonment

Smart is incarcerated at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, Westchester County, in New York State, where she is serving a life sentence. Her Department Identification Number (DIN) number is #93G0356. Not only is she the only person in New York incarcerated under an interstate compact between New York and New Hampshire, but she is also the only one serving a sentence of life without parole. Smart was transferred to Bedford Hills, a maximum security facility, from the New Hampshire State Prison for Women in Goffstown, New Hampshire in 1993. State officials stated that she was transferred because 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, (her husband) Gregg would still be alive.[10][11] In prison, Smart has spent her time tutoring other inmates and has completed two masters 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]

In October 1996, Smart was severely beaten by inmates Mona Graves and Ghania 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 guard, whom she also claimed coerced her into posing for the suggestive pictures published of her 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 is a popular show among the other inmates. She and other inmates like to prepare food, but she 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. Pamela's 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.

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 scantily clad photos of her in a jail cell appeared in a 2003 issue of the National Enquirer. Smart claimed the pictures were taken by one of the prison guards who allegedly sexually assaulted her. According to court documents, Assistant Attorney General Maria Barous Hartofilis asked federal court Judge Robert 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 after filing the complaint. Smart also spends her time pondering the loss of a life outside of prison and still maintains hope of having children. [17]

Aftermath

William Flynn and Patrick Randall are serving their sentences at the Maine State Prison in Warren, Maine. Raymond Fowler was paroled in 2003[18] but was sent back to prison for violating his parole terms in 2004.[19] He was paroled again in June 2005.[20] Vance Lattime had his 30-year sentence reduced by 12 years. In 2005, his sentence was reduced by three years, and he was paroled.

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

Recent events

In an interview by ABC News, Smart indicated she is afraid of growing old and dying in prison and would rather have had the death penalty than life. [21]

William 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. He also apologized to Gregg Smart's family for murdering him. The Smart family opposed the request. [22] On February 12, 2008, the request was denied, although Flynn's parole eligibility date was reduced by three years to 25 years, making him eligible for parole in 2015. [23] In March 2009 a judge cut Patrick Randall's minimum sentence by three years, making him eligible for release in June 2015 and was originally eligible for parole in 2018. [24]

In popular culture

  • Joyce Maynard drew several elements from the case for her 1992 novel To Die For (ISBN 978-0451186072)
  • The case was also the subject of several best-selling true crime books, including Teach Me To Kill (ISBN 978-0380766499) and Deadly Lessons (ISBN 978-0312927615).
  • 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 Gregory Smart .[25]
  • The story also inspired the 2008 Richard Rodgers Award winning musical, Mrs. Sharp (formerly titled Alive at Ten), with music and lyrics by Ryan Scott Oliver and book by Kirsten A. Guenther.
  • The crime series American Justice played an episode on the case "Crime of Passion: The Pamela Smart Story".
  • The Law & Order episode Renunciation is based on the Pamela Smart case.

Notes

  1. ^ "Gregory Smart (1965 - 1990)". FindAGrave.com. 17 Jan 2003. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=7090228.  
  2. ^ Kerr, p. 3.
  3. ^ a b Kerr, p. 4.
  4. ^ Kerr, p. 6.
  5. ^ Kerr, p. 8.
  6. ^ a b Kerr, p. 10.
  7. ^ a b c "Teacher Says Her Conviction Was a Surprise". The New York Times. Associated Press: p. A11. 1 Apr 1991. http://www.nytimes.com/1991/04/01/us/teacher-says-her-conviction-was-a-surprise.html.  
  8. ^ Kerr, p. 13.
  9. ^ "Woman in Plot to Kill Husband Shifts Prisons". The New York Times: p. A14. 12 Mar 1993. http://www.nytimes.com/1993/03/12/us/woman-in-plot-to-kill-husband-shifts-prisons.html.  
  10. ^ Dinan, Elizabeth (20 Feb 2005). "Life, With Nothing To Lose". The Portsmouth Herald. http://www.hampton.lib.nh.us/hampton/biog/pamsmart/20050220aPH.htm.  
  11. ^ "Sentence". official Pamela Smart web site. 8 Oct 2008. http://www.pamelasmart.faithweb.com/about_4.html.  
  12. ^ "Pamela Smart Maintains Innocence in Prison". Good Morning America (ABC News). 19 Dec 2007. http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/HolidayTheme/Story?id=3555182&page=2.  
  13. ^ O’Connor, James V. (29 Dec 1996). "NOW Chapter Thrives Among Inmates". The New York Times: p. 13WC-1. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/12/29/nyregion/now-chapter-thrives-among-inmates.html.  
  14. ^ Fitzgerald, Jim (5 Dec 1997). "2 inmates guilty of beating Pamela Smart". South Coast Today. Associated Press. http://archive.southcoasttoday.com/daily/12-97/12-05-97/c09sr106.htm.  
  15. ^ "Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Brought by Pamela Smart". WCSH6.com. Associated Press. 30 Jul 2006. http://www.wcsh6.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=39287.  
  16. ^ Cosby, Rita (13 Feb 2006). "Inmate Pam Smart sues jail and guard for sexual assault". MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11325793/.  
  17. ^ Cronin, Patrick (7 Oct 2008). "N.Y. May Settle Smart Lawsuit". Hampton Union. http://www.hampton.lib.nh.us/hampton/biog/pamsmart/pamsmartHU20081007.htm.  
  18. ^ Zezima, Katherine (4 Apr 2003). "Parole In ‘To Die For’ Killing". The New York Times: p. A18. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/04/us/national-briefing-new-england-new-hampshire-parole-in-to-die-for-killing.html.  
  19. ^ "Man Convicted In Gregory Smart Death Behind Bars Again". WNNE/WPTZ.com. 28 Jul 2004. http://www.wptz.com/wnne/3588116/detail.html.  
  20. ^ Morse, Susan (25 Jan 2008). "Fowler family speaks about shooter Flynn's request". seacoastonline.com. http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080125/NEWS/80125025.  
  21. ^ "Pamela Smart Maintains Innocence in Prison". Good Morning America (ABC News). 19 Dec 2007. http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/HolidayTheme/story?id=3555182.  
  22. ^ "Pamela Smart's former teen lover seeks sentence reduction". WCSH6.com. Associated Press. 23 Oct 2007. http://www.wcsh6.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=73098.  
  23. ^ Gunman in Smart case denied release February 12, 2008
  24. ^ Judge cuts sentence for accomplice in Smart murder case March 14, 2009
  25. ^ The Three of Them - New York Times

References

External links


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