By Gail Ober, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – Pamela Smart will have to file another commutation petition to the newly sworn Executive Council before she will be given any consideration, Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday, adding he will let the council decide whether she will be given a hearing.
Smart, now 51, is serving a life sentence with no chance for parole for orchestrating the murder of her husband, Gregg, by enticing her teenage lover, William Flynn, to carry out the 1990 shooting death in the couple’s rented Derry condominium with help from three of Flynn’s friends. All four pleaded guilty to charges related to the crime and all four have been paroled. Smart was at a meeting at the time of Gregg’s murder.
Saying she doesn’t want to die in prison, she filed a petition in late 2017 for a commutation of her sentence, however Sununu, at the unanimous request of the former council withdrew the item from the Dec. 5, 2018, agenda, saying that the sheer volume of information was too much to digest before the outgoing councilors’ terms ended.
Sununu and the Executive Council met briefly Thursday afternoon and authorized the continued use of revolving funds for which the state treasurer holds the receipts and approved a six-month 2019 meeting schedule that set the second and fourth Wednesdays at 10 a.m. for its twice-monthly meetings.
Additionally, State Treasurer Bill Dwyer told the governor and council that the state is in good financial shape with about $500-million in liquidity. He said that despite the ongoing partial federal shutdown, the state should be in a solid financial position relative to liquidity for at least two weeks.
According to Associate Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin, should the Executive Council agree to hear Smart’s request and if it were to agree to grant her a commutation, she could be eligible for parole in the future. He said that if a commutation were to be granted, Smart’s conviction would stand, but her sentence could be reduced.
While she admits her role in having a sexual relationship with Flynn, Smart has steadfastly denied having any role in the planning or carrying out the murder of her husband.
“My decision to become involved with Mr. (William) Flynn has been frozen in time and used ever since to define my entire character,” wrote Smart in her 838-page petition dated Dec. 17, 2017. “I have been vilified, ridiculed, and sensationalized by a scandal-thirsty media. I have been publicly branded with a mark of shame forever.”
After a 1991 trial that was the first New Hampshire trial to be broadcast live on television, Smart was convicted of accomplice to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and tampering with a witness. Flynn and the three boys cooperated with prosecutors and testified against her.
Smart says she is a changed person who deeply regrets her husband’s death and the pain it caused his family and friends. She said she will be forever remorseful for engaging in the romantic relationship with Flynn.
She provided about 200 letters of recommendation from various people, including many she met and mentored in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York. Smart also provided the council with a recounting of her accomplishments in prison that include earning two master’s degrees and serving on a number of boards and in numerous prison-advisory roles during her incarceration.
The New Hampshire Attorney General objects to the clemency petition. In an 88-page response to her request for a hearing, Strelzin said, “(Smart) has never accepted full responsibility for the crimes she committed…”
“Instead, she has blamed her co-conspirators, the police, the trial judge, the jury, and the media for her convictions,” he continued. “The Petitioner cannot make a credible argument that she has been rehabilitated when she continues to lie and blame others for crimes she committed. Accepting full responsibility for her crimes would be a sign that she is on the path to rehabilitation.”
Smart appealed her conviction to the New Hampshire Supreme Court that ultimately decided she received a fair trial. The United State Supreme Court refused to hear the case.