The Pamela Smart Murder Case


My intent here is to be non-committal and unbiased. However, I don't have time to recall or research the entire case. My wife, a defense lawyer, has used some of the prosecution's tactics against NH government and is quick to cite this case to show they are legal, I'll touch on that toward the end and in the postscript.

Just the facts

On May 1, 1990, Gregory Smart was shot and killed at his home in Derry, New Hampshire. Ultimately, a jury concluded that the killer was a 15 year old high school student named William Flynn. Gregory Smart's wife, Pamela (Pame) Smart was found guilty of accomplice to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and witness tampering.

Testimony at the trial reported that Flynn and Smart were lovers, and Smart used Flynn as a hit man, threatening to terminate their relationship if he didn't follow through. Smart met Flynn at Winnacunnet High in Hampton, NH where she was the director of media services.

Flynn was sentenced to 28 years for second degree murder, Smart to life without parole. Both Pame Smart and Linda Wojas, her mother, have steadfastly proclaimed Smart's innocence and have been trying to get an appeal heard ever since the trial ended. So far, all requests have been denied.

The Persian Gulf War

On August 1, 1990, Pame Smart was arrested and charged in her role with the murder. The next day Iraq invaded Kuwait, claiming that Kuwaitis had been taking oil from Iraq's oil field. Not only did the invasion annoy the Kuwaitis and the neighboring Saudis, it scared their oil customers. In response, the US, Britain, France, and the other forces of the American Way responded, pushed the Iraqis back, and then had to stop because the UN resolution only permitted freeing occupied land. In the resulting stalemate the US, hoped that Iraqis would take care of Saddam Hussein, Shiites and other dissidents expected US assistance, but got none and the remnants of Hussein's Republican Guard readily quashed the rebellion.

As the war wound down, NH residents who had become CNN news junkies were about to lose their "fix." Fortunately for them, the Pam Smart trial was about to begin and the entire state turned its attention to the Rockingham County Courthouse. I guess from the news shots of satellite trucks and whatnot, a good portion of the rest of the country followed.

The result was the most covered and most sensational trial in NH history. It had drama such as William Flynn's tearful account of how he killed Gregg Smart. It had a young, stoic widow unemotionally hearing claims of her masterminding the murder of her husband of less than a year, and listening to a conversation with a friend about the case where the friend was wearing a tape recorder set up by the prosecution. It had parents of both sides upset at the other, and everyone's parents and grandparents upset at the how judge Douglas Gray allowed the trial to become so sensationalized.

The aftermath

Smart started serving her sentence in a NH prison. Within a couple years later she was transferred to Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, New York suddenly and without notice. I don't recall if the state offered a reason, but Smart alleges it was done to make it harder for her to work with her lawyers on the appeal or be visited by her parents. Others with connections to the prison say it was because she was a disruptive influence through manipulating other inmates.

She spends her time tutoring other inmates and working on correspondence courses, earning a Master's Degree in the Science of Law and a Master's of Arts from Mercy College. A beating by two other inmates in 1996 gave her with a fractured eye socket and other injuries that caused permanent damage. The eye socket damage left her with no sensation on the that side of her face and plastic surgery required installing a metal plate.

The impact

One of the controversial aspects of the case was that the state wired Cecelia Pierce, another student and (ex?) friend to talk to Smart to get damning evidence against her. Protests that this was illegally obtained evidence were rejected by the Attorney General who concluded the action was legal and ethical. It's pretty clear to me that they needed a court order per wiretapping statutes. On the other hand, that ruling has made it hard for the state to prevent citizens from surreptitiously taping state employees. And that is why this page exists, see the postscript.

Recent events

Spikes in access to this page correlate with news articles and TV spots on the case, so it's clear that public interest isn't fading any time soon. So I'll try to keep the page up-to-date.

In addition to Pame, Raymond Fowler has been in the news on and off since his release on parole with events involving a "disturbing the peace" incident and related "witness tampering" charge. There was a Raymond Fowler WWW page which was maintained for a while around his parole time. Vance Lattime is also out on parole and keeping a low profile.

Sentences and Prisons

Who sentence up for
Pamela Smart life without parole N/A Bedford Hills, New York
William Flynn 40 years to life, 12 years suspended
In 2008 made eligible for parole after serving 25 years
2015 Maine State Prison, Warren, Maine
Patrick Randall 40 years to life, 12 years suspended
In 2009 made eligible for parole after serving 25 years
2015 Maine State Prison, Warren, Maine
Vance Lattime 30 years to life, 12 years suspended
(reduced by 3 years in 2005 and paroled)
2005 Maine State Prison, Warren, Maine
Raymond Fowler 15 to 30 years (paroled in 2003)
(returned to prison for a parole violation 2004)
(reparoled in June 2005)
2003 Concord NH

Related links The official Pamela Smart web site


This page exists because a counter on reported that several people were finding that page when searching for Pamela Smart or Pam Smart. (The counter saves the referencing URL for a page, and for search engines, picks out the search string involved. It doesn't say who is reading the page, except in a very few circumstances. Typically, all I can identify is your ISP. If you use AOL, well, all I know is that another AOL user visited the page.) I tried searching for Pame Smart information, but didn't find many good resources among the many references to a motion picture about the case. I decided to start this page for curious people.

Somewhat to my surprise this found its way to the top of the typical Google search and high up on others. So now I find I have one of the most read pages on the case and feel that I need to keep it up to date. I even went to the parole hearing for Raymond Fowler in part to be able to update this as soon as possible. Perversely, as I added material, the Google ranking dropped. They seem to elevate short pages, so pages like the Hampton Library's did better. After Google seemed to have mostly blacklisted my ISP, I registered, I figured the link there might not rank very high since most pages that refer here use the old URL. Still, interested people found their way here, and for quite a while Google let this back into the top few links.

Please forward me any links or accounts that you think should be included here. If I think they add to the story, I'll incorporate them. I'm always curious why people visit this page. Feel free to drop me a note. I don't harvest Email addresses and I use Linux, so it's unlikely you'll ever hear back via a virus.

Contact Ric Werme or return to his home page.

First written 2000 November 1.