Council Denies Pam Smart’s Request for Life Sentence Reduction Hearing

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Paula Tracy photo

Pam Smart's mother Linda Wojas is pictured outside the Executive Council chambers recently.

By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org

CONCORD – Pam Smart will not get a hearing before the Executive Council on her petition to commute her life sentence for being an accomplice to first-degree murder.

The 51-year-old is now serving a sentence of life in prison without the chance of parole for her role in the murder of her husband Gregg Smart in 1990. She is incarcerated at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York.

The council voted 4-0 Wednesday against holding a hearing with Executive Councilor Michael Cryans of Hanover abstaining.

After the vote, Smart’s mother, Linda Wojas, tearfully said she dreaded the conversation she will have with her daughter that there will be no chance for a hearing.

Wojas said she has evidence that Smart’s teenage lover William Flynn who admitted pulling the trigger and killing Gregg Smart, testified at trial while high on drugs.

Wojas said the judge in Smart’s case was given that information but decided not to allow the jury to hear it, and intimated that there may be a chance to ask for another trial.


Pam Smart’s mother Linda Wojas speaks after Wednesday’s Executive Council meeting. Paula Tracy video

“When is enough enough?” Wojas asked. “The emotional toll on our family and the endless suffering we have endured is immeasurable.”

Associate Attorney General Jeffery Stelzin said Smart has never accepted responsibility for her husband’s murder.

Associate Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin speaks after Wednesday’s Governor and Executive Council meeting. Paula Tracy video

While she has complained over the years that she has been treated unfairly, “what’s really unfair is that Gregg Smart was killed at her behest and that she has received all the due process she is entitled to, certainly more than she arranged for her victim,” Strelzin said.

After the vote, Gov. Chris Sununu said he agreed with the decision, but he did not vote.

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky said he read the well-prepared 700-page petition.

Volinsky said he wanted to balance the life of Gregg Smart and that of Pam Smart and her current situation.

The sentence in the document that helped him make up his mind to vote against a hearing was from Smart which he said was “at great odds with the evidence in the case.”

Smart wrote, and Volinsky quoted, “Although I never wanted nor asked Mr. Flynn to murder Gregg, I will forever carry the blame of guilt.”

After the vote, Volinsky said the evidence showed that Smart orchestrated the killing of her husband and were it not for her actions, Gregg Smart would not have been murdered.

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky speaks about the vote on Pam Smart’s hearing. Paula Tracy video

William Flynn and three other teenagers  pleaded guilty to charges related to the crime and all four have been paroled. 

Smart, who has maintained Flynn acted without her knowledge or direction, said it is unfair they are walking the streets. She said she doesn’t want to die in prison.

Were the Executive Councilors willing to agree to hear Smart’s request, they could have found her eligible for parole in the future. The conviction would stand, but her sentence could have been reduced by a parole board.

Strelzin told Wojas in the hallway after the hearing that “justice was served.”

Wojas disagreed.

Standing with her husband, John J. Wojas, in the hallway of the State House, she said they were “heartbroken.”

Wojas said she discovered after the council’s breakfast meeting earlier in the day that Strelzin and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald attended.

“What the heck were they doing there unless they were discussing Pam,” Wojas said.

Wojas said when she left the council meeting to speak with the press, Strelzin and MacDonald came out to listen to her.

She noted on Aug. 1 Pam Smart will have spent 29 years of her life in prison “for a crime committed by others.”

Wojas called it a “cruel outcome” noting over 200 letters from people who have deemed her daughter “worthy of a second chance.” The letters say Smart has been rehabilitated and deserves a chance at redemption.

The Governor and Executive Council meeting was packed Wednesday for the decision not to grant a hearing for Pam Smart. Paula Tracy photo

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