Pamela Ann Smart (née Wojas) (born August 16, 1967) is an American woman who was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, witness tampering and accomplice to first degree murder. In 1990 at age 22, Smart was accused of conspiring with her underaged sex partner, then 15-year-old William "Billy" Flynn, and three of his friends to have her 24-year-old husband Greggory Smart killed in Derry, New Hampshire. She was later convicted of being an accomplice to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and witness tampering. She is currently serving a life sentence at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, a maximum security prison in Westchester County, New York.
Pamela Ann Wojas
August 16, 1967
|Occupation||Media services consultant|
|Criminal status||In custody at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility|
(in New York, DOCCS #93G0356)
(m. 1989-1990; his death)
|Parent(s)||John and Linda Wojas|
|Criminal charge||Accomplice to first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, witness tampering|
|Penalty||Life without parole|
(sentenced by New Hampshire)
|Date||May 1, 1990|
|Location(s)||Derry, New Hampshire|
|Weapons||.38 caliber pistol (committed by underaged sex partner)|
Pamela Wojas met Greggory Smart at a 1986 New Year's Eve party. They formed a serious relationship in February 1987 and married two years later. They shared a passion for heavy metal music. Seven months into the marriage, they began having difficulties in their relationship. She took a job as a media coordinator at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, New Hampshire.
Smart met high school sophomore William "Billy" Flynn at "Project Self-Esteem", a local drug awareness program at Winnacunnet High School, where both were volunteers. They bonded over their mutual interest in heavy metal music. Smart also met another intern named Cecilia Pierce, who was friends with Flynn.
Murder of Gregg SmartEdit
On May 1, 1990, Pamela Smart came home from a meeting at work to find her condominium ransacked and her husband murdered. Police officials said the crime scene looked like a disrupted burglary. Smart was later accused of seducing 15-year-old Flynn and threatening to stop having sex with him unless he killed her husband. Flynn did so with the help of friends Patrick "Pete" Randall, Vance "J.R." Lattime, Jr., and Raymond Fowler.
During the investigation, Lattime's father brought a .38 caliber pistol he had found in his house to the police, believing it might have been the murder weapon. On May 14, 1990, an anonymous tip also indicated that a teenager named Cecilia Pierce was aware of the plan. Police talked to Cecilia, who then agreed to wear a wire and record conversations with Smart in hopes that she would say something incriminating, which she did.
On August 1, 1990, Detective Daniel Pelletier entered Smart's office unannounced. Smart recognized him, having spoken to him on at least six other occasions. Taken by surprise, she asked, "What's up?" "Well, Pam," Pelletier said in the recording, "I have some good news and I have some bad news. The good news is that we've solved the murder of your husband. The bad news is you're under arrest." "What for?" Smart asked. "First-degree murder." Smart was then handcuffed and arraigned at the Derry District Court and jailed at the New Hampshire State Prison for Women which was in Goffstown at the time.
Smart's trial was widely watched and garnered considerable media attention; she faced life in prison if convicted. The prosecution's case relied heavily on testimony from Smart's teenaged co-conspirators, who had secured their own plea bargains before her trial began.
When oral arguments began March 4, 1991, Assistant Attorney General Diane Nicolosi portrayed the teenagers as naïve victims of an "evil woman bent on murder." The prosecution portrayed Pamela Smart as the cold-blooded mastermind who controlled her underaged sex partner. Nicolosi claimed that Smart seduced Flynn to get him to murder her husband, so that she could avoid an expensive divorce and benefit from a $140,000 life insurance policy. In her testimony, Smart acknowledged that she had what she termed an "affair" with the underaged boy, but claimed that the murder of her husband was solely the doing of Flynn and his friends as a reaction to her telling Flynn that she wished to end their "relationship" and repair her marriage. She insisted that she neither participated in the murder plot nor had any foreknowledge of it. Though Flynn claimed he had fallen in love with Smart when he first met her, Cecilia Pierce testified at trial that Smart and Flynn were originally just friends. Pierce first noticed a change about February, when Smart confessed to her that she "loved Bill." Flynn testified at trial that he was a virgin before he had sex with Pamela Smart.
After a 14-day trial that culminated on March 22, 1991 in the Rockingham County Superior Court, Smart was found guilty of "being an accomplice to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and witness tampering. The tampering stemmed from Pamela's coercing Cecilia to not say anything to authorities or to lie. The conviction was largely the result of the testimony of her co-conspirators and secretly taped conversations in which Smart appeared to contradict her claims of having wanted to reconcile with her husband and of having no knowledge of the boys' plot. She could have been charged with capital murder, but the prosecution decided against it. Later that day, she was given a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility for parole.
Smart is serving her life sentence at the maximum-security Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in Westchester County, New York, where she was transferred in 1993 from the New Hampshire State Prison for Women in Goffstown. At the time, New Hampshire officials said the transfer was for unspecified "security reasons." Co-defendants William Flynn and Patrick Randall were also transferred out-of-state, in both cases to the Maine State Prison in Warren, Maine.
The specific reasons for Smart's transfer are unclear. In 2007, a senior assistant in the state attorney general's office told the Keene State Equinox that Smart was transferred due to discipline problems. While she had accrued 22 disciplinary reports, all but two of them were for minor offenses. Deputy Compact Administrator Denise Heath claimed that at the time, there were fears that the State Prison for Women was not suitable for a high-profile inmate like Smart, and that it would be too easy for someone to break her out. However, New Hampshire has never had a formal transfer agreement with New York; Heath believed the transfer was a "commissioner to commissioner" arrangement. Smart's family maintains they were never informed of the transfer.
Although she maintains her innocence, Smart has conceded that her husband would still be alive if she had not had an affair with Flynn. While in prison, Smart has tutored other inmates and has completed a master's degree with concentrations in literature and legal studies from Mercy College, which were paid for with private funds from Mercy College. Smart became a member of the National Organization for Women, campaigning for rights for women in prison.
In October 1996, Smart was severely beaten by fellow inmates M. Graves and G. Miller. This resulted in the insertion of a plastic plate in the left side of her face. The two inmates beat Smart after they accused her of snitching on them about their prison relationship. Graves and Miller were convicted of second-degree assault in the attack on Smart at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility and were subsequently transferred to separate prisons. As a result of the beating, she takes medication for chronic pain and sometimes thinks of suicide. Her counselor, Dr. Eleanor Pam, says that "she has many, many, many dark days."
Smart says she still keeps track of Flynn because she regards him as being the key to her freedom. "He is one of the few people that could actually get me out of here, by coming forward and telling the truth, but he's never gonna do that," said Smart.
In 2003, photos of a scantily clad Smart were published in the National Enquirer. She filed a complaint against the prison and was placed in solitary confinement for two months. Smart sued, claiming that the photos were taken by a prison guard who had raped her, but the lawsuit was dismissed. In 2004, Smart and fellow inmate Carolyn Warmus sued officials of Bedford Hills, claiming sexual harassment, and sexual assault by a corrections officer, who they said coerced them into posing for the suggestive pictures published in 2003. On November 5, 2009, a U.S. District Court Judge approved a $23,875 judgment to Smart from the State of New York. Smart received $8,750, while her attorney received the remaining balance for attorney fees.
While serving her sentence, Smart took part in a writer's workshop, which was facilitated by playwright Eve Ensler. The workshop and Smart's writing were exhibited in the 2003 PBS documentary What I Want My Words to Do to You.
In April 2004, the First U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a 2002 ruling by a federal judge who rejected her federal habeas petition. Previous to her federal appeal, Smart had exhausted all judicial appeals at the state level. In July 2005, the New Hampshire Executive Council unanimously denied a pardon request for "any conditions the governor may seek to impose." In an interview with ABC News, Smart indicated she is afraid of growing old and dying in prison and would rather have been given the death penalty.
In 1992, William Flynn was sentenced to life in prison for second degree murder; not eligible for parole for 40 years with 12 years of the minimum sentence deferred if he maintains good behavior. Flynn was incarcerated at the Maine State Prison in Warren, where he earned his GED, has been active in charity work and worked as an electrician at the prison. In 2007, Flynn sought a sentence reduction after serving 16 years, stating that he had vowed not to do so until he had spent as many years behind bars as he had spent free. He also apologized to Gregg Smart's family for murdering him. The Smart family opposed the request. On February 12, 2008, the request was denied, although Flynn's earliest parole eligibility date was reduced by three years to 25 years, making him eligible for parole in 2015. In July 2014, Flynn was moved to a minimum security facility in Warren, Maine; the transfer allowed him to participate in a work release program.
Flynn was granted parole by the state parole board on March 12, 2015, and was released from prison with lifetime parole on June 4, 2015, a few days past the 25th anniversary of Gregg Smart's death.
Like Flynn, Patrick Randall was also sentenced to life in prison for second degree murder, eligible for parole after 40 years with 12 years deferred, making him eligible as early as 2018. He too served his sentence at the Maine State Prison in Warren, Maine. In March 2009, a judge reduced Randall's minimum sentence by three years to 25 years, making him eligible for release as early as June 2015. Randall was granted parole by the New Hampshire Parole Board after a hearing on April 9, 2015. He was released on June 4, 2015 on lifetime parole, the same day as co-conspirator Flynn's release and a few days past the 25th anniversary of Gregg Smart's death.
Co-conspirator and driver Vance Lattime was sentenced to life in prison as an accomplice to second-degree murder, eligible for parole after 30 years with 12 years suspended, making him eligible in 2008. In 2005, his minimum sentence was reduced by three years, and he was paroled that same year, 15 years after Gregg Smart's death.
Co-conspirator Raymond Fowler (who waited in the car during the killing) was sentenced to 30 years for conspiracy to murder and attempted burglary, and parole eligibility after 15 years. Fowler was paroled in 2003, 13 years after Gregg Smart's death, but was sent back to prison in 2004 for violating his parole terms. He was paroled again in June 2005.
- The book American Murder: Criminals, Crimes, and the Media (ISBN 978-1788284660) written by Mike Mayo (2008), aims to clear criminal acts of fact from Hollywood fiction. Gregg Smart's murder is cleared away from media outlet's portrayals of crime.
- Dean J. Smart, brother of murder victim Gregg Smart, released Skylights and Screendoors (ISBN 978-1-936680023), his memoir, on April 7, 2011.
- Joyce Maynard drew several elements from the case for her 1992 novel To Die For (ISBN 978-0451186072).
- The case was also the subject of several best-selling true crime books, including Teach Me To Kill (ISBN 978-0380766499) and Deadly Lessons (ISBN 978-0312927615).
- In 1993, French publisher J'ai Lu published a French translation of Stephen Sawicki's Teach Me to Kill, entitled Leçons particulières de meurtre.
- The character of Becky Burgess in feminist writer Marge Piercy's novel The Longings of Women (ISBN 978-0449909072) was inspired by Pamela Smart and the conspiracy to kill Greggory Smart.
- Pamela Smart is reported on in the book Till Death Do Us Part Love, Marriage, and the Mind of the Killer Spouse (ISBN 978-1416523130) written by Dr. Robi Ludwig and Matt Birkbeck, Introduction by Larry King, Foreword by Nancy Grace.
- The details of Smart's tale of sex and murder are depicted in the book Deadly Lessons: A Trial That Stunned a Nation. A Killer Whose Motive is the Most Shocking of All (ISBN 978-1626815162), author Ken Englade (2014 edition).
- The key points of the Pamela Smart case are revealed in the book Evil Women (ISBN 978-1788284660) written by John Marlowe, published in 2017. The book covers the criminal acts committed by girlfriends, partners and wives.
Television and moviesEdit
- The case was the basis for the NBC Television crime and drama series Law & Order Season 2, Episode 9 "Renunciation", originally aired November 19, 1991.
- The trial was the basis of the television movie Murder in New Hampshire: The Pamela Wojas Smart Story, starring Helen Hunt and Chad Allen, released 1991.
- Joyce Maynard's novel was adapted by Buck Henry for Gus Van Sant's 1995 movie To Die For, starring Nicole Kidman and Matt Dillon as the fictional wife and husband, and Joaquin Phoenix as the wife's underaged sex partner.
- Reel Crime/Real Story a short lived crime documentary series from the Investigation Discovery channel, detailed crimes that became the basis for movies. Smart's crimes are detailed in the episode titled "To Die For" Season 1, Episode 3, originally aired: June 12, 2012.
- The crime series American Justice played an episode on the case: "Crime of Passion: The Pamela Smart Story", aired May 25, 1996.
- The murder was parodied in an episode of the animated sitcom Family Guy, "Fast Times at Buddy Cianci Jr. High", season 4, episode 2, aired May 8, 2005.
- Snapped, an American true crime television series, dedicated its 13th episode in the second season (2005) to the case.
- The case is referenced on Psych, on the Season 5 episode "Dual Spires", where a character is said to be "pulling a Pamela Smart" after she has allegedly killed a teenage girl while having a sexual relationship with an underage boy, aired December 1, 2010.
- Smart appeared on Oprah on October 22, 2010. On the show, Smart claimed she was innocent and believes that her sentence for life in prison is too harsh.
- Scorned: Love Kills, a series on the Investigation Discovery channel, dedicated the Season 1, Episode 4 titled "Hot For Teacher" to the story on February 11, 2012.
- The HBO documentary Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart was directed by Jeremiah Zagar, aired August 14, 2014.
- The USA Network series Corrupt Crimes, which investigates crime stories and interviews experts to analyze a wide variety of cases, dedicated an entire episode to Pamela Smart's upbringing, career and murder trial in Season 1, Episode 62, entitled "From Student Seduction to Murder", which aired on February 19, 2016.
- The Reelz Network series Murder Made Me Famous, a fact-based crime documentary series, aired the Season 2, Episode 1 titled "Pamela Smart" on March 19, 2016.
- The Oxygen Network series Snapped: Killer Couples, reveals couples whose attractions lead them to carry out crimes, released an episode of Smart and Lynn's case on Season 6, Episode 10, entitled "Pamela Smart & William Flynn", which aired on December 13, 2016.
- In August 2018, the Investigation Discovery channel released a three-part program titled Pamela Smart: An American Murder Mystery, with a total run-time of 127 minutes:
- ◦ Episode 1: "A Death in Derry" details the murder of Gregg Smart and the police investigation leading to the arrest of three teens who are connected to Pamela Smart and the additional case load of her now being a suspect in her husband's murder. 42 minutes, aired: August 19, 2018.
- ◦ Episode 2: "An Affair to Die For" the investigation reveals that Smart slept with her husband's shooter, 15-year-old William Flynn, 42 minutes, aired: August 19, 2018.
- ◦ Episode 3: "Black Widow" secret audio recordings of Pamela Smart are played out to the jury at her trial; she takes the stand, 43 minutes, aired: August 20, 2018.
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A woman's love affair with a teenager culminates in the murder of her husband in this look at the crimes that inspired "To Die For."
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See below for an exclusive first look at HBO’s documentary, which airs Aug. 18.
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