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.
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.
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.
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.
- 2014 Jan 18:
Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart documentary film debuts at the
Sundance Film Festival
This is the better of the first two reviews Google sent my way. I don't know
anything beyond what's in the review, but apparently Jeremiah Zagar focused on
the circus aspects of the trial and excessive sentences.
Zagar stops just short of arguing for Smart's innocence, but he
pokes enough holes in our perception of the facts that in a show of hands at
the post-screening Q&A, half the audience who'd assumed she was guilty
said they'd changed their minds. Yet when a woman stood up and said she'd like
to start a letter-writing campaign to free Smart, only a handful of people
applauded in support.
- 2014 Jan 6: Pam Smart's pen pal plans film
Chris Bradley, a 37-year-old company actor at Seacoast Repertory Theatre was
once a pen pal with Pame Smart and will be making a film based on letters they
exchanged starting in 1992 when Bradley was a 14-year-old eighth-grader in
Newburyport, Mass. His initial reasons for writing were mixed, he said,
starting with the fact he was a lonely, lost boy.
"At the time (the murder) was a featured scandal and everyone was so
against her. A friend and I decided to be contrary," he said, adding neither
understood the gravity of the situation. "We decided to support her."
At 14, he believed Smart was innocent. He wrote her a letter of
support. Smart responded kindly and the pen pal friendship began and continued
through Bradley's senior year.
The film will consist of Bradley explaining the situation and reading
letters, "and it will be really funny," producer Rae Dawn Chong said.
"Not to make fun of Chris or Pame, it's the insanity of it," she
said. "She's serving a life sentence and she's giving sex and love advice to
this 14-year-old gay boy!"
The film project launched the
campaign last week for $2,000, but is shooting for $15,000 or more. The
participants hope to film at the Rep in the spring.
- 2013 Jan 20: No parole for Pamela Smart, says new Gov. Hassan
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.
- 2011 Dec 13: Investigation Discovery, one of the Discovery cable
TV channels, will be airing a series on called "Scorned: Love Kills."
The series starts on Jan 21, the Feb 11 (10 PM) show will be on the Pamela
Smart case. The series isn't listed on the web site yet, I found the report at
- 2010 Oct 22: Dean Smart, Gregg's brother, announces new book.
Contacted by WMUR, Dean Smart said "If she would come out and admit that
she was involved and admit that she prompted those boys to do that I might,
you know, maybe her sentence should be reconsidered." He also mentioned
a book on Gregg's life,
Skylights and Screen Doors
will be available "within the month."
- 2010 Oct 22: Pame is
interviewed on Oprah.
Not surprisingly, that sets a new record for page views here with 2059.
The most before was in 2004, with 1349 views on Aug 28 when Ray Fowler
was having problems after his release.
- 2010 Sep 1: William Smart, Gregg Smart's father, dies of pancreatic cancer
William Smart quietly and adamantly worked to oppose any of Pame's motions
for a new trial or sentence reduction. He also spoke at parole board hearings
for the boys to keep three of them in prison for their full sentences. He had
softened his stand against William Flynn, as Flynn has pulled his life together
in prison. Gregg's brothers will carry on his father's efforts.
- 2010 Feb 4: WMUR airs and hosts a multi-part interview with Smart
After airing the first segment, that and the rest of the interview is
now up at WMUR's web
- 2009 Nov 3: Smart wins (but very little) in suit over National Enquirer
The New York Post is first in print about a settlement over her treatment
and solitary confinement after a prison guard sold photos of her to The
National Enquirer. She was awarded $8,750 and her attorneys $13,125 in fees.
- 2009 Oct 23: Settlement agreement with New York nearly finalized
In a story mostly about the appellate rejection last month was a note that
the case over Smart's treatment in the wake of the National Enquirer affair
is not over. Seacoastonline.com
notes at the end:
"According to court documents, the New York Attorney general's office and
lawyers for Smart are currently working to finalize a settlement agreement.
Smart sued the state in 2006, claiming unfair treatment by prison officials
after scantily clad photos of her in a cell appeared in the National Enquirer.
In the suit, she alleges that after the photos appeared in the supermarket
tabloid, she was forced to spend two months in a 23-hour-a-day low-down
- 2009 Sep 30: Appeals court: State not liable for Pamela Smart's prison beating at Bedford Hills
This news item got very little coverage. www.lohud.com
reports "The appeals court upheld a lower court's decision to dismiss the
claim, saying the prison was not negligent for injuries Smart sustained in the
"While the state's duty to an inmate encompasses protection from the
foreseeable risk of harm at the hands of other prisoners, the state is not an
insurer of an inmate's safety," the Sept. 22 ruling stated."
- 2009 Mar 14: Patrick Randall sentence reduction
In a story from
reports that Judge Kenneth McHugh, who sentenced a teenage Randall,
decided to clip the minimum term of the sentence, reducing it by
three years, making him eligible for parole in 2015.
- 2008 Feb 12: Decision for William Flynn on sentence reduction
The request was denied with Judge Kenneth McHugh concluding that 18 years
in prison is not enough time, especially with Gregg Smart's family
strongly opposed to a release now. However, the Associated
Press says the judge will make Flynn eligible for parole after spending
25 years in prison, that would be a 3 year reduction.
William Smart suggested Flynn should serve at least 23 years of his sentence
to match the 23 years of Gregg Smart's life.
- 2008 Feb 6: Bedford Hills was not negligent in Smart's 1996 beating
This was part of a lawsuit filed in 2004. Part was denied in 2006 and
this part had a hearing in 2007. Judge Stephen Mignano ruled that
only ones responsible were the inmates who attacked her. This ruling
seems to have gotten very little press even though it may lead prisons to
tolerate a much higher level of violence among inmates.
- 2008 Jan 25: Hearing for William Flynn on sentence reduction
William Flynn, who fired the shot that killed Gregg Smart, has been
granted his request for a hearing to request a sentence reduction.
It will be held in Rockingham Superior Court where Smart's trial was held.
Press article has a good summary of Flynn's time in prison.
The article notes that "Flynn has also gotten married, to a woman six
years his senior who was coming out of a divorce when they met at the prison."
His wife, Kelly, has a teenage daughter.
- 2007 Sep 3: Eleanor Pam has produced an
"official" Pamela Smart web site.
It's definitely a pro-Pame site and the first one that deserves
- 2007 Apr 7:
An online petition to request the NH Governor to reduce
Smart's sentence was Emailed to the Governor's office, the Executive
Council, and others. While the petition site made it clear that signers
were supporters, several signers included comments making it clear they
opposed the petition.
The text sent
kept the names, but excluded the negative comments.
A May 6th
article in various seacoast papers has a good summary. An editorial
might note that the process gives online petitions a bad name and are not
worth any consideration. Ultimately the petition will either be ignored
- 2006 Jul 29: 2004 Lawsuit against Bedford Hills dismissed
In the wake of the lockdown and strip searches after the prison photos
of Pame were printed by the National Enquirer, she filed a lawsuit
accusing officials at New York's Bedford Hills.
U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet dismissed the suit, saying that Smart
did not sufficiently prove that her rights had been violated.
- 2006 Apr 3: Pame Smart and another infamous inmate,
filed lawsuits in 2004 against Bedford Hills charging they were sexually abused by
prison guards. Smart says she was forced to pose in lingerie for
photos by a corrections officer as "insurance" against her because he
had tried to rape her. Prison officials said Smart was put into
protective custody to safeguard her after the photos were published by
the National Enquirer and she complained about the assault.
- 2005 Jul 15: Executive council rejects Smart Pardon request
As expected, the five-member Executive Council voted unanimously to deny
a pardon hearing for Smart.
- 2005 Jul 14: A parole board hearing results in granting
Vance Lattime parole. He would be released on Aug 8.
- 2005 Jun 16: Pam Smart pardon [to be] put on Executive Council agenda
Union Leader reports Governor Lynch will finally give this to the Executive Council
for consideration, but it's not exactly clear when.
The newspaper talked to four of the five councilors, all are cool on the
idea of holding a formal hearing on the request.
- 2005 May 14: The Rockingham Superior Court grants Vance Lattime's
request that three years be suspended from the minimum of his sentence,
accomplice to second degree murder. This makes him eligible for parole
- 2005 Apr 29: Fowler set for re-parole on June 14
I nearly went to the parole hearing, but wound up in Comcast hell with
problems setting up a new cable modem. Apparently things went okay,
the first report came from WNNE,
a Vermont TV station. The story also mentions that Vance Latime's sentence
has been reduced by three years, and could be paroled this year.
- 2005 Apr 7: Fowler pleads guilty to parole violation
The Hampton Union reports that Ray Fowler has
pled guilty to the parole violation charge. I guess this is the
logical conclusion to pleading guilty to witness tampering. Thanks to
the time already served, his earliest parole date on the
charge is the end of June. He will have a parole board hearing on that
on April 28.
- 2005 Mar 8: Fowler pleads guilty to witness tampering charge
The Hampton Union reports that Ray Fowler has
pled guilty to the witness tampering charge. It appears to me that
this is due in part to not being able to afford a lawyer who could put
on a decent defense and in part due to the wheels of justice moving
so slowly that there is little to be gained by going to trial.
The witness tampering charge carries a one to three year prison term,
eligible for parole after one. His has been in prison since the parole
violation for 263 days and gets credit for that.
The risk is that parole board will revoke the original parole, the hope
is he'll be released by the end of the summer. A parole violation hearing
is tentatively scheduled for April 5.
- 2005 Jan 11: N.Y. professor: Smart is innocent
The Union Leader ran an
article about Eleanor Pam, Pame's academic director when Pame was
working on her masters degrees from prison. Pam decided during that
period that Smart is innocent. Much of the article's contents are
polled Executive Council members who haven't seen the pardon request
- 2005 Jan 6: Pamela Smart asks for a pardon
Concord Monitor reports "Smart wants a Pardon", "because her trial was
irreparably tainted by media coverage and that her sentence was
disproportionately harsh." I'm not sure if she's looking to
be released, for a commutation to allow parole, or a new trial, but
I think it's the first. In any
event, pardons need to be approved by NH's governor and four of the five member
Executive Council. The Red Sox have a better chance of winning the
World Series than Pame has of getting a pardon. However, that's about
the only avenue left for her. I'll post a note when the pardon is denied.
The Nashua Telegraph says the pardon is requesting a reduction in her
"life without parole" sentence. That has a chance of being heard, but I'd
be very, very surprised if it is granted.
- 2004 Dec 17: "Oprah film crew details Smart case."
Seacoast Online reports that a cable television network established by Oprah
Winfrey has taped the story of Pamela Smart for its
The documentary should air this spring. The series looks at female felons
and tries to identify the moment they "snapped."
- 2004 Aug 25: The probable cause hearing on the witness tampering charge.
This was heard in Hampton District Court. I had hoped to attend,
but I'm busy with too much other stuff. Apparently it was a remarkable
hearing with the State Attorney General's office replacing the Seabrook
prosecutor, one of the police officers' testimony changing from
what he gave at the parole board hearing, and the witness who was
tampered with wasn't there. She didn't want to press charges and doesn't
want Fowler back in jail. Why is the state bothering to pursue this
at all? I've seen
only one news story about the hearing. A
later story has a good summary.
- 2004 July 27: Raymond Fowler's parole revoked
The Portsmouth Herald for details.
I don't have much experience with parole boards. While the actions
seem a bit harsh, they are not surprising. At the parole hearing in
2003, I remember the board sternly telling Fowler that they didn't
want to hear about him from the police. The parole board didn't have
to let him out early, so it must be easy for them to justify putting
him back into prison. Also, parole boards do not pass judgement on
the original charge or sentence, they accept them on their face. A
common result is that someone who did a crime can impress a parole
board with his remorse and rehabilitation, whereas someone unjustly
convicted would have to fake the remorse and admit to the crime before
I think the following is the germane timeline.
- Fowler gets girlfriend.
- Things turn into a love triangle, after girlfriend becomes pregnant
with Fowler's child.
- June 8: Fowler hears girlfriend is taking drugs with new boyfriend
around 2 AM.
- He and his brother leave home in Seabrook NH and go to boyfriend's home
in Salisbry MA, knocks on doors, windows, and yells to wake her/get her
attention. He may have had a verbal altercation with the new boyfriend.
(Media reports say he went to his girlfriend's house, I hear otherwise.)
- He lets air out of 1 of tires on her car to keep her from driving
while under the influence of drugs.
- "It wasn't a wise choice," Fowler told the board. "I was concerned
about the well-being of my baby."
- Police arrive, the Fowlers leave after being told he would receive
a summons for disturbing the peace.
- That morning: Fowler reports the incident to Barry Osborn, his parole
officer since leaving prison.
- June 15: Fowler goes to meet his new parole officer, Bob Meegan.
Meghan decides Fowler is "in crisis," arrests him, and sends him back
- July 27: At the parole board hearing on the matter, Fowler is
charged with witness tampering (a felony). (At this point, I don't
think Fowler has received the summons for the disturbing the peace
incident. Can you be charged with witness tampering before someone is
charged with a crime? Probably, witnesses can be tampered with when
it is clear a murder has been commited but before there is enough evidence
to charge someone.)
- The parole board unanimously decides to keep Fowler in prison
pending arraignment and parole hearing on the witness tampering charge
and a hearing later to determine whether to revoke his parole
Seabrook Police Chief David Currier said of the events, "High
profile or not, rich or poor, we're going to treat people equally." I
think this means that Salisbury and Seabrook are bad places for
fighting with your girlfriend or spouse.
- 2004 July 3: Raymond Fowler faces parole revocation
This early article has more detail, but doesn't add much to
what you've read above. Fowler was sent back to prison on June 15th.
- 2004 April 24: Petition for "Certificate of Appealability" denied.
Ever since her conviction, Pame has been trying get a new trial, but so far
has been rebuffed at each step. The latest was an attempt "to
pursue an appeal from the denial of her federal habeas
petition." This appears to be a mechanism used when one's
constitutional rights have been violated and a lower court has refused
an appeal. A three judge panel ruled against her, saying some claims
were forfeited by not bringing them up before, and that others did
not merit an appeal. Let me know if you want to see the entire decision.
- 2003 Dec 16, 9:00 PM PBS:
What I Want My Words To Do To You
I just heard (Sept. 7) that a documentary that may have triggered a
recent flurry of page accesses will be broadcast on PBS in December.
A reader dropped me a note last month mentioning that PBS was planning
to air it. She noted in part:
I did a google search on Smart because last night I saw a movie called
'What I Want My Words To Do To You', a documentary about women at
Bedford Hills Prison who are in a writing project with Eve Ensler (the
playwright who created the Vagina monologues). Smart is one of the
women in the writing group and talks about her case some. I thought
the movie was very moving and recommend it if you can find it
somewhere. I did hear that it will be shown on PBS on the POV show.
The newer note says "This powerful film received a standing ovation at
its debut and went on to win an award at the Sundance Film Festival in
Salt Lake this past winter."
- 2003 October: The National Enquirer and solitary confinement.
I wasn't planning to note this, but events seem to be making this into
a Item of Significance. In August or September The National Enquirer
ran a story with photos about Pame's life in prison. While the article
probably ran without her knowledge, the prison retaliated with more than
two months of solitary confinement and daily strip searches. Pame
filed a lawsuit against Bedford Hills after she was released from
- 2003 April 3: The Parole board finalized Raymond Fowler's
A parole plan (meeting schedule, employment plans,
etc) needs to be written and approved before release. That should
take 2-4 weeks. The board meets at the state prison, only five miles
from home so I attended along with family and reporters. The parole
hearing was a bit of a mix of patting Fowler on the back for doing
everything asked of him during his prison term and stern warnings
about what happens should he miss a requirement of his parole plan.
Since his earlier hearing, Fowler has been at a halfway house in Concord
NH and working in the community. While in prison he learned a furniture
building trade but transportation limitations forced him to work as a
cook at a nearby restaurant.
- 2003 March 13, Elizabeth Smart
An uptick in people searching for Pame Smart pages coincided with
the return of Elizabeth Smart to her family in Utah. As far as I know,
there is no relationship between that family and Gregg Smart's family.
- 2002 November 26, "One of teen-agers in Pamela Smart case up for parole"
CONCORD, N.H. - The father of murder victim Gregg Smart says one of the
four teenage boys convicted of helping Pamela Smart kill her husband 12
years ago should be paroled.
Raymond Fowler was scheduled for a parole hearing Tuesday morning. He
could be released as early as January.
"He's mentally challenged," William Smart, the victim's father, told WBZ-AM
radio. "I don't want to say anything derogatory against the poor kid. He's been
there for 12 years and it's time for him to get out. Don't ask me about the
other three guys because I'll tell them to stay there forever."
Fowler waited in a car while his 15-year-old friend William Flynn shot
insurance salesman Gregory Smart in the Derry condominium he shared with
his wife, Pamela, according to prosecutors. Fowler, a Seabrook resident, was
18 at the time.
Herald says that Fowler was more involved than just being the driver.
- 2002 October 27, Judge denies appeal from Pam Smart
In her third appeal, she argued that she was denied her right to her
fair trial because of extensive media coverage, but a U.S. District
Court judge rejected her arguments in an order made public Thursday.
According to Judge Steven McAuliffe, the appeal mirrored Smart's
previous attempt to win a new trial "except for a few minor stylistic
He said Smart's case did not meet the requirements for intervention by
a federal court.
Smart also claimed that her Eighth Amendment protection from cruel and
unusual punishment was violated because her punishment was more severe
than the 28-year sentence given to William Flynn.
Sentences and Prisons
||life without parole
||Bedford Hills, New York
||40 years to life, 12 years suspended
In 2008 made eligible for parole after serving 25 years
State Prison, Warren, Maine
||40 years to life, 12 years suspended
In 2009 made eligible for parole after serving 25 years
State Prison, Warren, Maine
||30 years to life, 12 years suspended
(reduced by 3 years in 2005 and paroled)
State Prison, Warren, Maine
||15 to 30 years (paroled in 2003)
(returned to prison for a parole violation 2004)
(reparoled in June 2005)
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
WermeNH.com, 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.