Mom Back at Work To Prove Pamela Smart’s Innocence

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Screen shot of photos from Pam Smart's website

CONCORD – When one door closes, another one opens, Pamela Smart told her mother Linda Wojas during a phone call after the Executive Council denied her commutation hearing last week.

“We are awaiting that opening,” said Wojas. “In the interim, we continue to work on information that the Executive Council denied New Hampshire residents from hearing.

“I am hearing from many New Hampshire residents who are furious, stating due process was not served and calling on Gov. Sununu to make their voices heard.”

Smart, 51, is serving life in prison without the chance of parole for being an accomplice to the murder of her husband Gregg Smart 29 years ago in Derry.

But Smart is not the only one facing that life sentence.

Wojas, 77, made it painfully clear to anyone passing by in the State House hallway last Wednesday that she, too, is facing a similar fate and she won’t be giving up any time soon.

“She was 23 and she is 51 and I am not giving up and I am not leaving this world, I hope. I hope God lets me live long enough to prove her innocence. I really do,” Wojas said.

Pam Smart’s mother Linda Wojas is pictured outside the Executive Council chambers with her husband, John.

Wojas and her husband of 60 years, John, were seeking a hearing for a possible sentence reduction – not a pardon as the governor characterized it –  which could help reduce her sentence by allowing a chance at parole, someday, she said. 

The council agreed with the recommendation of the Attorney General, that Smart should stay where she is: in a maximum security prison in Bedford Hills, N.Y. for the rest of her life.

But Wojas keeps moving as if that hearing request was just one of many setbacks, and that she still has hope, legal arguments, people to come forward.

“I am going to keep working because I know my daughter better than anyone,” Wojas said.

Associate Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin said what Smart did was the worst type of domestic violence crime imaginable. He called the decision, 4 to 0 with one abstention to deny the hearing, “justice served.”

He summarized the evidence the state has to support her conviction.

“She enticed her juvenile lover to kill her husband. She was part of the planning. She provided money to buy bullets for the murder weapon. She helped detail the plans. She drove these people. She created an alibi that night. She left the basement door unlocked so they could get in,” Strelzin said.

After the murder, Smart profited from it, he said.

“She had this murder committed so she could avoid the financial aspects of a divorce. She collected her dead husband’s insurance money and spent it while continuing her relationship with her juvenile lover. In addition, she took active steps to hide the truth from the police. She lied to the police and tried to convince others to lie as well. So she is somebody, the evidence shows, who clearly committed the crime involved,” Strelzin said.

Smart has steadfastly denied that she orchestrated the murder.

She has maintained that her former lover, Bill Flynn, out of jealous rage and in concert with his friends, committed the crime, shooting Gregg at point-blank range while he was on his knees in his home begging for his life.

Smart was at a meeting and came home to find him there, with the house ransacked, while Wojas said the real perpetrators had gone off to the Seacoast to sell the stolen belongings to buy drugs to get high.

Four months later, police entered Smart’s workspace and told her they had good news and bad news. They had solved Gregg’s murder and she was being charged with it.

That was Aug. 1, 1990, the last day she saw freedom.

Smart has exhausted her judicial appeals and now, without new evidence, has only a political remedy left to offer her any hope of freedom.

But she has another weapon: her mother.

There may be future requests at the council table, especially if new information comes forward or people come forward to explain what happened that night and why it differs from Strelzin’s view of the evidence.

Wojas said Smart can reapply to the Executive Council in five years.

Moments after the hearing, Wojas was back in the hallway with the media alleging there is new information that the jury was never allowed to learn that Flynn was high on drugs when he testified against her daughter.

Holding a letter she said was written by Flynn from jail to a friend, she said it shows that Flynn possessed cocaine while in the jail at Brentwood and that the judge in the case refused to allow the jury to consider that evidence.

She also blasted Gov. Chris Sununu following the hearing with the following statement, that he misspoke on the introduction of the case, calling it a pardon request.

“Governor Sununu falsely stated before everyone in attendance at the Executive Council Meeting on May 15, 2019, that our daughter, Pamela Smart, was seeking a pardon.  The petition clearly and plainly states a request for commutation of sentence, not a pardon. 

“Worse, the agenda item itself characterized the petition in exactly the same false way—as a pardon request.  So—right from the beginning—even before the beginning of a process designed to give opportunity and hope for petitioners, my daughter was prejudiced—including and especially by the chief executive officer of the state whose obligation is to safeguard that process,” Wojas said.

Sununu said, “the Executive Council thought very deliberately on it and made the right decision…there has been absolutely no new evidence nothing new brought to the table over the past years…the council agreed as do I,” that no hearing should be held.

The day after the hearing, Wojas said, “I just can’t believe it. All I do is cry.”

“This was like getting resentenced,” Wojas said. She added she will not give up trying to free her daughter, now that the convicted co-conspirators who carried out the execution-style murder are now walking free on parole.

She said she spoke to her daughter by phone Wednesday night from prison and it was Smart who comforted her, reminding her that when God closes one door he opens another.

Wojas admitted she was having a hard time being positive.

On Mother’s Day, they visited Smart who sang a song she wrote for her called “Beautiful Linda.” See below for the lyrics.

She said her daughter has earned two master’s degrees and is working on a doctorate in biblical studies now.

“She does God’s work in there,” Wojas said, helping other inmates, has a job in the prison and has earned the praise of hundreds who have seen her grow, contribute to her community and has even saved two women from suicide.

The publicity related to the case, particularly that which falsely characterized her as a teacher (she was a media coordinator when she met the 15-year-old admitted killer Billy Flynn) made it worse, Wojas said.

Wojas called last week’s decision “political.” She heard that executive councilors, talking about the case at their morning breakfast before the meeting, had said it would be “political suicide” to allow such a hearing.

Happier days

Wojas is the mother of three children, Beth, 57, Pam, and Jay, 49. The two youngest children were born in Coral Gables, Fla. when John Wojas was serving in Army. He became a commercial airline pilot.

They settled in Windham and Smart went to elementary school and then Pinkerton Academy where she participated in cheerleading.

Wojas stayed at home with her children until they were all school-aged and she worked and volunteered in the school system.

“I felt so lucky,” she said, because her children were all doing well academically and socially. They were always close.

That maternal love, which her daughter has never known, carries her forward each day, Wojas said.

The amount of money spent on lawyers and fighting the charges have been staggering and the emotional costs are equally horrendous, she said.

Wojas said she works daily to save her daughter’s life and is reminded of Smart’s positive attitude even when she cannot muster much hope.

To help manage the stress, she said she walks, bakes and enjoys giving her baked goods to friends and family.

“It makes me feel good to do things for other people,” she said.

There are no pets in the house right now. They took care of Smart’s dog “Halen” until he died. “I hope God lets me live long enough to prove her innocence. I really do,” Wojas said.

The dog was named for Van Halen and was a gift to Pam from Gregg, she said. When Halen died, Wojas said she wrapped the dog’s body in a favorite T-shirt of her daughter and buried him with a photo of Pam and Gregg. There is a statue of a little angel where the dog is buried on their property, she said.

Wojas said she enjoys phone calls from her daughter a few times a week and the chances when she can go and see her, which are in part predicated on Smart’s good behavior in prison. And she is a model prisoner, Wojas said.

On her website,, Smart writes about her gratitude to people such as her mother who are “angels.”

Wojas said she will treat each day as an opportunity to find a way to get her daughter out of prison.

“The phone is ringing now,” Wojas said ending the interview. “I need to talk to Attorney Sisti,” she said, referring to Smart’s defense attorney, Mark Sisti.

The poem Smart wrote for her mother:

Beautiful Linda By Pamela Smart 5/11/19

The first person I ever loved
pieces of you reside in me
You gave birth to all I am
you’re all I want to be

You taught me right from wrong
to treat everyone with love
This is your song my
 angel from above

Beautiful Linda, rainbow in my sky
Beautiful Linda, love lies in your eyes
 More than a mother
 My heart, my soul, my best friend
 standing strong ’til the end

You were always by my side
 wiped the tears from my eyes
You taught me how to fly
 how to soar above the lies

God’s gift to me was you
 a treasure to hold tight
 He knew you’d see me through
heal the dark with your light

Beautiful Linda, rainbow in my sky
Beautiful Linda, love lies in your eyes
More than a mother
My heart, my soul, my best friend
standing strong ’til the end

When darkness arrives
 I picture your eyes
 Then I can cope
 Your love is my hope

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