Pamela Smart accepts responsibility in plotting 1990 murder of husband with teen lover

Pamela Smart, convicted of plotting her husband's murder with a high school student more than three decades ago, took responsibility for her role in the murder in her latest request to shorten her life sentence.

"I found myself responsible for something I desperately didn't want to be responsible for – my husband's murder," Smart said in a videotaped statement included with her petition and shared with USA TODAY.

Smart asked Gov. Chris Sununu and the state's Executive Council for the opportunity to have an "honest conversation with you about my incarceration, my acceptance of responsibility, and any concerns you might have," either in person or via videoconference.

"I am such a different person than I was, and more thoughtful than before," Smart said. "Thirty-four years is a very long time, and during that time, I've done a lot of work on myself and a lot of spiritual work."

Pamela Smart, convicted of being an accomplice to her husband's murder, is asking the Governor of New Hampshire to make her eligible for parole.
Pamela Smart, convicted of being an accomplice to her husband's murder, is asking the Governor of New Hampshire to make her eligible for parole.

What did Pamela Smart do?

Smart, 56, was convicted in 1991 for her role in the murder of Gregg Smart by William "Billy" Flynn, a teenager with whom she was having an affair, days before the pair's one-year anniversary.

Smart is currently serving a life sentence for being an accomplice to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and witness tampering. If her request is granted, she will be eligible to ask a parole board for her release.

She has unsuccessfully asked to have her sentence shortened multiple times. The Executive Council and New Hampshire Supreme Court rejected her last request in 2022, The Portsmouth Herald, part of the USA TODAY Network, reported.

Mark Sisti, Smart's attorney, pointed to a "tremendous change" from past petitions.

"Pam is ready, willing and able to take full responsibility for the murder of her husband Gregg," he told USA TODAY. "We think there's been a wonderful turn around. We think that the governor and council should take notice of this and deal with her one-on-one."

The family of Gregg Smart did not immediately return a request for comment from USA TODAY.

Since her last request two years ago, Smart has finally reached the "correct conclusion" about her role in the crime, Sisti said.

"She's been running from it for over three decades," he added.

Smart's latest petition, submitted by Sisti, also includes a written statement from Smart and letters of support from the superintendent and several inmates from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, where she is currently incarcerated.

Sisti said there is no set schedule for the governor and council to come to a decision. "When she gets a hearing is entirely up to them," he said.

“New Hampshire’s process for commutation or pardon requests is fair and thorough," Sununu said in a statement emailed to USA TODAY. "Pamela Smart will be given the same opportunity to petition the Council for a hearing as any other individual.”

Pamela Smart's trial was the first to be broadcast live in full in New Hampshire.
Pamela Smart's trial was the first to be broadcast live in full in New Hampshire.

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Pamela Smart trial sparked media craze, inspired movies

Smart's trial in 1991 stirred a media firestorm, piqued worldwide attention, and inspired a Hollywood movie.

Smart, then a 22-year-old media coordinator at a high school in Hampton, New Hampshire, convinced Flynn, a 15-year-old sophomore at the school, to murder her husband with the help of three friends.

Flynn and his friends drove to the condo where Smart and her husband lived to await his return from work while Smart was at a school board meeting on May 1, 1990. One of Flynn's friends held a knife to Gregg Smart's neck while Flynn shot him at close range.

During the trial, prosecutors said Smart had a sexual relationship with Flynn, and had coerced him into the crime. They said Smart also told Flynn to ransack their home and steal jewelry to make the murder look like a burglary gone awry.

The trial, the first in the state to air in full on live TV, drew a frenzy of public interest. News crews from around the world descended on the Exeter courtroom.

Media coverage dubbed Smart an "ice princess" and "black widow" who had seduced Flynn into the crime. The case inspired documentaries, TV series, and the 1995 film "To Die For," which starred Nicole Kidman as a woman who seduces a teenaged boy, played by Joaquin Phoenix, into murdering her husband.

Cybele Mayes-Osterman is a breaking news reporter for USA Today. Reach her on email at Follow her on X @CybeleMO.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pamela Smart accepts responsibility in her husband's 1990 murder