BEDFORD HILLS, NY (CBS) – It was one of the first trials that captured the attention of millions on television. Pamela Smart was convicted of recruiting her teenage lover to kill her husband.
Nearly 30 years later, it appears Smart may be out of legal options to try to get out of prison. WBZ’s Paula Ebben sat down with Smart for a jailhouse interview, and says Smart believes it is unfair that she remains behind bars while her husband’s killers are now free.
“I feel like it was completely unfair!” Pamela Smart said about the 4-0 decision by the New Hampshire Executive Council to reject her petition for a parole hearing and possible sentence reduction. She wants her life without parole sentence to get a second look. She expresses surprise that the Council voted to deny her in May as they did 14 years ago.
“I had no chance,” Smart said. “It was just a devastating blow, it really was.”
After almost three decades in a New York maximum security prison – the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility – she has stopped blaming others for her fate after she was convicted as an accomplice in the 1990 murder of her newlywed husband Gregg.
“It took me years of working on myself and therapy and progress and growth and maturity that happens naturally as you move through life to no – it’s your fault,” she said.
The fault she accepts is that, as a 22-year-old “Media Coordinator” at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, New Hampshire, she began a sexual relationship with 16-year-old Billy Flynn. Flynn and three others were convicted of shooting Gregg Smart in the head inside the couple’s condo in Derry. By 2015, Flynn and the others were all released from prison. Smart is the only person still serving time for the murder.
Executive Councilor Andrew Volinsky said at the vote that Smart will get no hearing, especially because she has never taken responsibility for her role.
“Although I never wanted or asked Mr. Flynn to murder Gregg, I will forever carry the blame and guilt,” Volinsky read from her lengthy petition, and added, “I think that sentence is at great odds with the evidence in the case.”
After 29 years, is Smart willing to finally admit she did it, even if it would get her a hearing? Smart refuses to budge on that point.
“No. I wouldn’t be able to reconcile that and live with myself. You know, what I’m saying is this is my fault.”
How would she respond to those who would say that’s not enough?
“I don’t know if anything I ever do is going to be enough,” Smart said.
She confirmed she will never say she told the teen boys to kill her husband. Smart believes the trial coverage and subsequent books, movies and documentaries have made her a caricature. What truly bothers her is the hate from people who consider her a sociopath.
“I’ve heard that before. It’s very hurtful. When people talk about who they think I am, I have to remind myself that they really don’t know me,” she said.
So is she resigned to the fact she is going to die in prison?
“I think about it. Sometimes I feel that way. But I don’t feel like that every day, thank God,” she said.
WBZ reached out for reaction from the New Hampshire Executive Council. Debora B. Pignatelli responded: “Maybe the day will come that a commutation of her ‘life without parole’
sentence should be considered, but it doesn’t seem that time is now.”
The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office says Smart’s claims are without merit, and a spokesperson for Gregg Smart’s family released a statement after her petition was rejected saying, “Pamela is where she belongs.”