Tuesday, May 1st, 1990 – 8:30 p.m.
The young man lay face down in a pool of blood in a dark hallway of a quiet condominium on Misty Morning Drive in Derry, New Hampshire. Killed, execution-style, death was instantaneous for Gregory Smart. Outfitted in a gray sports coat and dress pants, most of his body lay on the blue wall-to-wall carpet of the dining area, his right arm contorted, while his splayed feet and ankles rested on the foyer floor. His left foot was twisted against the stairwell wall and a brass candlestick. A 38-caliber hollow-point slug, lodged in his skull, had torn into his head just above the left ear, toppling him to the carpet. Underneath his body was his diamond-studded wedding ring, along with his keys and billfold. Two stereo speakers and a small television had been left uncharacteristically near the back door.
Meanwhile as a shaggy little dog cowered in the shadows downstairs, 24-year-old Gregory lay in the dark ransacked condo for several hours before his bride walked through the door.
A pair of headlights lit up the kitchen window of unit 4E of the cul-de-sac Misty Morning Drive on that balmy May Day evening. As Pamela Ann Smart pulled up her silver 1987 Honda CRX towards the Summerhill Condominiums, she noticed that the house was dark. Greg routinely turned on the porch light when he got home first so that she would not have to walk in the darkness.
Pamela parked in the garage, got out of the car, walked past Greg’s 1989 Toyota pickup in front of the condo, making her way to the end unit that the couple rented. She climbed the few steps of the front porch, unlocked the door, stepping inside as she switched on the foyer light.
In A Matter Of Seconds
“This all happened in a matter of not even a second, I think,” the petite, 22-year-old would recall. “I remember seeing him and the candlestick and the pillow.”
Pam shrieked. “Help! My husband! My husband!” She ran to nearby condo unit 4D, and then to 4C, pounding on the doors and ringing the doorbells, screaming hysterically. One of the neighbors, wary from all the commotion, literally pulled Pamela in through her front door in case somebody was behind her.
“My husband’s hurt! He’s on the floor!” shouted Pam. “I don’t know what’s wrong with him!” During the confusion, at some point, Pamela also uttered, “Why do they keep doing this?”
By now a half-dozen neighbors had come out onto their stoops to find out what was happening. At least two of the neighbors had dialed 911, dispatching units to the condo. A few of them stepped forward to see if they could help.
One neighbor, Art Hughes, had been watching thirtysomething on television when he heard a woman’s screams.
“What’s wrong?” Hughes yelled. “What’s the problem?”
“My Husband’s On The Floor!”
“What’s wrong with him?” Hughes shouted back. “Where is he?”
Pamela pointed toward her unit and Hughes, in his bedtime T-shirt and sweatpants, frantically ran out in front of unit 4E, looking into parked cars and all over the parking lot and lawn.
“Where the f*** is he?” He shouted in despair.
“Inside!” Pam yelled from the [neighbor’s] stoop. “He’s inside!”
Hughes bolted up the steps and went to open the storm door when he heard Pam again.
“Don’t go in there!” she said. “There may still be somebody in there!”
Hughes crouched slightly, pulled back the storm door, and pushed open the front door. He didn’t realize that another neighbor was right behind.
A Dead Man In The Doorway
The foyer light was on, but the rest of the place was in darkness. As the door opened the first thing they saw, ten feet away, was a brass candlestick, the light playing off it. Then a foot. The door fully opened, and the two men surged forward—over the floor mat depicting two cartoon ducks and past a maroon portfolio left carelessly near the entrance—and beheld the face down body of a man.
Gregory Smart was dead. And, at 11:19 pm, an investigator for the New Hampshire Medical Examiner’s office would make it official. The yellow tape was quickly secured around the small townhouse to protect the integrity of the crime scene.
The Summerhill Condominiums was only a mile from the town’s police headquarters so it was only a short while later that Capt. Loring Jackson, dark haired and heavyset, drove up in his unmarked maroon LTD Crown Victoria to assemble his detectives. Detectives Daniel Pelletier and Barry Charewicz were assigned to the case.
Murders were rare in Derry, New Hampshire, a quiet, peaceful town, population 32,000. In fact, this was the only homicide in Derry that year. Burglaries too were relatively rare. On the surface, the crime scene looked like a bungled burglary, but Capt. Jackson was used to looking below the surface. A police officer since 1966, at 48-years-old he had the sharp eye for detail, first developed when he had once trained as a commercial artist. This skill transferred over into his work at crime scenes, where he could identify the shapes and shadows that appeared to fit and those that did not. It did not take long for Jackson to notice a series of “red flags.”
Red Flags Start Flying
Much did not fit in his viewing of the crime scene at unit 4E, leaving many unanswered questions. “The scene stunk to high heaven,” Capt. Jackson recalled 10 years later. “Not much was making sense. No sign of forced entry? A nighttime burglary in a densely populated area? An execution-style killing?”
Jackson did not think that it was a burglary, “No signs of a struggle. Burglars don’t usually fight. They don’t pack guns. There were red flags all over the place.” Even if it was a burglary, the police know that burglars don’t usually go armed. Crime statistics show that burglars rarely commit homicide and, when they do kill, it is not execution-style the way Gregory Smart was murdered.
The crime scene also appeared to be staged. Staging is a way for someone to alter the crime scene before the police arrive, but this is harder to do than it sounds. An article in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin mentions staging: “Offenders who stage crime scenes usually make mistakes because they arrange the scene to resemble what they believe it should look like. In so doing, offenders experience a great deal of stress and do not have the time to fit all the pieces together logically. As a result, inconsistencies in forensic findings and in the overall ‘big picture’ of the crime scene will begin to appear. These inconsistencies can serve as the ‘red flags’ of staging, which serve to prevent investigations from becoming misguided.”
In cases involving a domestic homicide, the first suspects to be ruled out are those closest to them, family members, such as the spouse. In this case, Pamela Ann Smart, Greg’s young bride, had an airtight alibi. She had been at a school meeting in coastal Hampton some 35 miles southeast of Derry.
Newlyweds Gregory and Pamela Ann Smart appeared to be the model American couple. Pam at one time described her life with Greg as “picture perfect,” epitomizing the promise of a wonderful future. A great catch, free-spirited and fun loving, Greg was devoted to his perky 23-year-old bride Pamela Ann Smart, nee Wojas.
They settled in their quiet, peaceful hometown of Derry. Starting off their new life together, they moved into an upscale residential area, a ring of two-story condominiums on Misty Morning Drive. They rented a squeaky clean, new condo complete with contemporary furniture, including a white leather couch and attractive decor, two vehicles, and a small dog, Halen, named after the rock band Van Halen. Greg, one of three sons, lived only a block away from his parents.
Although not sentimental, Greg was a good man, looking forward to having children. He proudly bragged to his parents about how Pam would be a wonderful mother for their future children, if the way she treated their little Shih-Tzu was any indicator. How she fussed over the little creature, cooking him scrumptious tidbits for dinner, taking him for numerous walks around their complex, and protecting him from any sort of disturbances.
Pamela Ann Smart Was Your Typical Leo
In reality, however, Pamela Ann Smart looked after her own best interests. Born in Miami, Florida on August 16th, 1967, Pamela readily admits her egocentricity. “I’m definitely the typical Leo,” she said. “You know, walk in, have to be the center of everything. Everywhere I go, I’m always attracting attention for some reason or another. I’m loud, very outgoing, and stuff.” The second of three children, with a sister six years older and a brother three years younger, Pam was close to her mother. She had a strained relationship with her father. Her father worked as a commercial airline pilot and her mother as a stenographer. A great organizer, Pam had been working since she was 13, and with her enthusiasm and sense of humour she was very popular, even cheerleading for both basketball and football teams while in school.
Above all, Pamela liked to maintain control of herself and of her surroundings. She compulsively organized her clothing in color-coordinated groupings, even neatly folding her dirty laundry into separate hampers for darks and whites. She also organized her life that way, becoming upset when her tight schedule was disrupted.
Approaching their twenties, Pam and Greg hit it off immediately at a New Year’s Eve party at the end of 1986, dating exclusively about a month later. They both shared a passion for heavy metal music. Greg even strummed on a guitar. That was part of what drew Pam to Greg. His 5-foot 10-inch, 170-pound frame, toned from hiking, skiing and fishing, with his baby face was very appealing. But it was his long curly shoulder-length locks that Pam adored. In contrast, Pam’s petite frame, china-doll face and vivacious personality attracted Greg.
It Didn’t Take Long For Trouble To Come Along
But the trouble started soon after their wedding. Greg began to grow up. He became more conservative, having decided to work with the same company as his father did as an insurance salesman, and his ambition paid off. He created a whole new image. Even his dedication to rock music had declined, although he still enjoyed good equipment, like the expensive speakers in his Toyota pickup truck, and he still enjoyed heavy metal music. There was no longer such an intense interest anymore. Instead he was becoming an accomplished salesman, spending his recreational time with his friends.
The shocker for Pam came when Greg cut his shoulder-length hair. Her initial attraction to him was his long hair, looking like the rock star Jon Bon Jovi. Pam now thought Gregg looked more like a New England yuppie.
Their picture perfect marriage was not quite what it appeared to be and within a mere seven months the marriage began having serious problems. Nearing their first anniversary, Greg confessed to Pam that he was having an affair. But then Greg had confided in his parents his plans for a party to celebrate their first anniversary, just a week later, and then planned to fly to Florida. “If there’s anything Pam really loves, it’s lying on the beach,” said Greg. “She’s a real sun bunny.”
Things Weren’t Quite The Same
From then on, however, every time they got into an argument, Pam brought up the affair. “I didn’t feel as important anymore,” Pam would later testify. “Obviously it affected my trust.” She wanted out of the marriage.
Pamela Ann Smart Went After Her Dreams
Pamela Ann Smith was pursuing a broadcast career, doing everything she could think of to attain that goal. She worked three jobs and still found time to organize a benefit promoting safe sex, even talking several bands into giving free performances. An academic leader as well, she received her BA in communications in 1988 in a little more than three years, with an accomplished 3.85 grade point average.
During her college radio days, Pam combined her passion for heavy metal music with her career aspirations. She hosted a one-night-a-week radio show at Florida State University that she called “Metal Madness,” billing herself as the “Maiden of Metal.” At least one listener was surprised to actually see the small-framed, fine-featured woman, the face behind the microphone, expecting a more outlandish looking woman.
Having set her sights on broadcasting, Pam was hired as media services director with the school board in the town of Hampton, near the coast south of Portsmouth. Although not exactly what she wanted, she believed that it was a stepping-stone to better things. Her responsibilities included distributing and producing educational videos for use in the school district, complete with her own secretary and student intern.
Enter Billy Flynn
Pam also volunteered as adult facilitator with a local drug awareness program called Project Self-Esteem. All freshmen at Winnacunnet High School were expected to participate in the program. She was able to impress them with her interest in heavy metal music. “The kids never got much closer to one another as a result of the project,” Sawicki explains, “but everyone looked up to Pam. Unlike most adults, she never appeared to be patronizing them. She spoke their language and enjoyed the same music they did. Rather than lecture them or run on about her glory days at Pinkerton, Pam instead spoke of meeting Eddie Van Halen and of getting backstage passes for heavy metal concerts.”
Billy Flynn, one of the teenagers working on the project, became smitten with Pam, going out of his way to be helpful during the sessions. He also visited her every day at her office.
“The first time Pamela Ann Smart blipped across Billy Flynn’s radar screen,” writes Sawicki, “was at Winnacunnet High School during a meeting for Project Self-Esteem discussion leaders. One of the guidance counselors introduced the petite SAU 21 media center director to the group and the 15-year-old’s hormones kicked into gear. He turned to [his friend] Lattime and said softly, “I’m in love.”
Pamela Ann Smart met William “Bill” Flynn in the fall of 1989 through Project Self-Esteem and then continued their relationship while working on an orange juice video competition. It was around the same time that Greg confessed his affair to Pam, encouraging her to spend more time with the young people she had befriended. Only a few years older than the students at Winnacunnet High School, Pamela looked somewhat younger than her 22 years. An attractive woman, with her shoulder-length, blonde-streaked hair fluffed out in front, her dark-ringed raccoon eyes made up to perfection and her perky disposition, she fit right in with the students. She had just begun working in the SAU 21 building adjacent to the high school where 15-year-old Billy was beginning his sophomore year.
Billy Flynn’s 150 pound, 5-foot 11-inch frame was still growing. Shy-looking with his big, round eyes and dark shoulder-length hair, sporting an earring and black-leather jacket, playing the guitar, he resembled a young Paul McCartney. He too was dedicated to rock music, especially heavy metal, his favorite being Motley Crue. He was a dead ringer for what Pam was looking for in a potential mate.
Attracted to him from the very beginning, “I thought he was a good kid,” she said. “He was easy to talk to, friendly. He liked some of the same music I liked. He played the guitar.”
She also became overly friendly, overstepping her bounds with the student intern that came with the job, teenager Cecelia Pierce. They quickly became best friends. Pam was aware that Cecelia, wanting to be a journalist, was very interested in her job as an alternative. Cecelia quickly became Pam’s sounding board for virtually everything that was going on in her life.
The Three Musketeers
Billy Flynn ran with a tough crowd that included Pete and J.R. But the three “Brookies” William “Bill” Flynn, Patrick “Pete” Randall and Vance “J.R.” Lattime Jr. were so close and helpful in the neighborhood that some people even referred to them as the Three Musketeers. They ran errands, shoveled snow, or handled odd jobs. They even gave the elderly residents free services or large discounts. The three boys lived in South Seabrook.
“Seabrook is primarily a blue-collar town and its residents are known to those from other areas of the state as “Brookies,” a derisive term loosely translated to mean people of low class or people from the wrong side of the track. Brookies generally are regarded by other New Hampshirites with the same disdain that Bostonians reserve for the rest of the world.” Al Capp, the late “Li’l Abner” cartoonist, joked about using the town as his model for the fictional town of Dogpatch.
Bill – William Patrick Flynn
William was born March 12th, 1974, a day after an explosive incident between his parents, Bill and Elaine Flynn. Their marriage was tumultuous, and unfortunately little Billy seemed to be caught in the middle, hearing their incessant arguments, witnessing his father’s overbearing treatment of his mother, eventually experiencing his father’s anger first-hand. Even after two more sons were born, Billy’s father was still hard on him.
Mr. Flynn loved Billy but his demanding disposition pushed Billy too hard. “If things were going my husband’s way, he was a great guy to be around,” said Elaine Flynn. “But as soon as he had to deal with any inconvenience, forget it. It was blow-up time.”
It was just a matter of time before the Flynns’ marriage was over, but that did not stop the acrimony between them, or between father and son, although Bill Sr. did have a quiet spell, an unusual sort of reprieve, the Christmas before he died.
Events converged in Billy’s life in 1986, causing him many difficulties. His mother decided to leave his father after she found out that he had been cheating on her for years, spurring a move from California to New Hampshire. Only twelve at the time and entering junior high, Billy did not want to move. “He was an angry little guy coming back with me,” his mother recalled. She enrolled him in seventh grade at Seabrook Elementary School. It was here that Bill would meet his best friends, J.R. and Pete.
J.R. – Vance Lattime Jr.
Vance Lattime Jr. got his nickname “J.R.” because he was a junior. The 15-year-old’s dark curly hair, long thin face, and thick glasses, gave him a studious look. His book collection, complete with his prized anthology of Edgar Allan Poe, and the old Camaro he was refurbishing took up a lot of his time. His ambition was to become a marine. When he had any free time, he visited his grandmother in Haverhill, Massachusetts and even helped at holiday dinners for the unfortunate at his church.
Pete – Patrick Randall
Patrick Randall was short but looked very athletic. His mother described him as a loving son, always hugging both his parents when he was going out, no matter who was there. Of the three, he flirted the most with the other side of the law, having a history of truancy at Winnacunnet High school. There was even a rumor that his goal in life was to be a hitman.
At least one of Pete’s teachers claimed that he, and his two friends, Bill and J.R., were “impressive” young men. “Billy was a genuinely likable and caring kid, and the other two were intelligent beyond their years.”
The Intern – Cecelia Pierce
Cecelia Pierce from South Seabrook became Pam’s student intern in the media services office. The blond-haired, blue eyed, large-framed 15-year-old enjoyed all the attention she was getting from Pam. It probably gave her a heady feeling to be treated like an intimate associate.
“In spite of the large discrepancy in their ages,” writes Sawicki, “they were best friends and Cecelia was very proud of that. Cecelia had never had a friend like Pam. Someone who was pretty and intelligent and self-assured. She made Cecelia feel important just being with her. Pam paid for everything when they went out, be it lunch or whatever incidentals came up. And when Cecelia began to learn to drive, Pam would always let the teenager take the wheel of her Honda CRX.”
But her friendship with Pam, unequal from the start, soon began to interfere in every facet of her life: with her friends, in her schoolwork, and in her home life, particularly with her mother who had nicknamed her “Critters.” “As this relationship went on and on,” said her mother, Cecelia Eaton, “I liked it less and less. I was actually getting angry. I even said to Crit: ‘You’d think Pam was your mother. Well, I’m your mother, not Pam.'”
Soon after meeting Pamela Ann Smart, Cecelia’s grades began to slip. Mrs. Eaton even spoke to school officials about the inordinate amount of time that Cecelia was at the school board’s media center. The assistant principal agreed, “I noticed it, too.” Apparently, that is as far as it went.
Pamela Took A Shine To Billy Flynn
Pam, Bill and Cecelia hung out together. They frequented teenager hang-outs such as shopping malls, restaurants, beachfront arcades and clubs.
Pam was ecstatic to be managing a video project with a few teens, most from South Seabrook. She would invite them to her condo to work on the project. While her husband Greg was spending more and more time with his friends, Pam too was exclusive with her newfound friends. Pamela set her sights on 15-year-old Billy Flynn.
Pamela Ann Smart Makes Her First Move On Billy
“Do you ever think about me when I’m not around?” Pam asked Billy one gray afternoon while in her office across from Winnacunnet High School. It was early February, 1990, and their relationship had reached a turning point.
“Sure,” he admitted.
“Well, I think about you all the time,” said Pam.
Billy was hooked. “Billy Flynn could not quite believe what he was hearing,” writes Sawicki. “Two minutes earlier, life was normal. He was putting in his time in high school, goofing around with his roughneck friends and mooning over the pretty media center director. Now his fantasy was coming to life. Here was a woman to whom he had been attracted from the moment he first saw her, with whom he had been flirting without hope, revealing that she was attracted to him. Pam said she did not know what to do about her feelings because she was married, but that Billy was constantly on her mind.” About three weeks later Pam kissed Billy while on his bed, listening to Motley Crue’s Starry Eyes playing over and over.
The excitement he was getting with Pam probably felt like a sort of reprieve for him having just been through a rough couple of years. Two months before Billy’s 13th birthday, just entering the turbulent teenage years, his father died. It was a freak accident, when a car pulled in front of him and he veered into the rear of a gasoline tanker carrying some nine thousand gallons of fuel, blowing up and burning until all that was left to identify him were his teeth. Billy got very quiet after that, spending a lot of time alone.
Enter Raymond “Rayme” Fowler
Billy was acting out at home. “It was not that Billy was violent,” said his mother. She believed that he had a lot of self-restraint but he could become angry over the smallest difficulty, making it hard to communicate with him. “Outside of the family, people saw a kid that was polite and charming,” she said. “That was one side of Billy that he projected to people that he wanted to impress. He wanted to be liked. Inside the family is where he took out his anger. He has an attitude when something’s bothering him…It’s like a volcano waiting to erupt.”
Another youth, Ralph Welch, came to live with the Lattimes. The Lattime family had generously taken him in due to his unfortunate circumstances, encouraging him to go back to school. He was about the same age as their son J.R., but he was closer to Bill and Pete, but did not have the same circle of friends.
On the peripheries of these relationships was a fourth teenager, Raymond “Rayme” Fowler. An admitted petty thief, Fowler ultimately played a minor role.
As for Pam, organization was her strong suit, and she set her sights on controlling and manipulating Billy.
Pamela Ann Smart Makes Another Move On Billy
Late in March, Pam took the opportunity to have some fun while Greg was out of state for an insurance meeting. She invited Bill and Cecelia over to the condo to watch movies, one was the steamy 9 1/2 Weeks starring Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke engaging in sexual acrobatics. Shortly after, leaving Cecelia downstairs to walk the dog, Pam enticed Billy upstairs to the bedroom that she shared with Greg, slipped into a turquoise negligee bought especially for the occasion, then engaged in sex for the first time with Billy, while the CD player blasted out songs by Van Halen and Sammy Hagar.
After their first sexual encounter, they repeatedly met over the next few weeks to have sex, while Pam began and then continued her lament: “You have to get rid of Greg,” she said. “Otherwise we can’t keep on seeing each other.” When Bill questioned her about getting a divorce, she told him that Greg would follow her everywhere so that she would not even be able to have a boyfriend and that she would probably lose the condo, furniture and all and that she could not bear the thought of losing Halen. She falsely claimed that he beat her and the only way was to kill him. It all began like a surrealistic movie.
And Then The Real Game Began
Following Bill’s sexual initiation, the next morning as Pam drove them both to the school, she said, “Last night was great, but we can’t keep on like that.”
“Why not?” asked Bill.
“Because of Greg. If you want to keep seeing me, you’ll have to get rid of my husband.”
Pam’s message couldn’t be simpler. Love me, kill my husband. Reluctantly, Billy agreed to kill Greg, all the while believing that this would keep her near. Twice, Billy aborted attempts to kill Greg. Pam was furious, berating him and threatening to break-up.
“If you loved me, you’d do this!” she screamed at him, he later told the jury.
“I told her I did love her.”
“That’s when I started getting serious about it,” Billy would testify, “because I thought that if I do something like not go up or anything again, she’s gonna leave me and that’s gonna be it. So this is the time that I really started talking to J.R. and Pete about it.”
Pamela Ann Smart Set The Date For Death
Pamela Ann Smart told Billy that May 1st would be his last chance, Greg would have late appointments that night and she would be busy with a school board meeting. Pam even agreed to pay them from the insurance money that she would collect.
Meanwhile, Pam and Greg’s so-called “picture perfect” marriage continued disintegrating. Complete strangers began to witness the strain in their relationship, although their family and closest friends did not know yet. The couple was spending more and more time apart and the tension in their marriage began to show. Cecelia Pierce later testified about a telephone conversation that she overheard: “She was saying something about getting a divorce and then they started fighting over who was gonna take the dog and the furniture and everything. And then she said, ‘Fine, take the dog’ and hung up.”
By April, Greg was coming home more often to an empty house, eating alone. “Around the time of an attempt on his life, he told a long-time friend,” writes Sawicki, “he had felt a god-awful chill of danger as he walked into the empty condominium. Something unexplainable was just wrong. He turned around and left.”
The Plan To Kill Greg Was Simple Enough
Although numerous discussions took place between Billy, J.R., and Pete, in time, they settled with Pam’s basic plan. That plan included the boys wearing dark clothes, Billy tying his long hair back, parking by the shopping plaza and Pam leaving the cellar door open, as well as the rear doors for Bill and Pete to enter the condominium and to ransack it, staging it to look like a burglary and to take anything, including electronic equipment and jewelry. Englade lists the three prohibitions that Bill instructed his friends to follow:
Don’t turn on any lights. “Pam says Gregg is a real wimp if he sees a light on, he won’t come inside,” said Bill.
Don’t hurt the dog. Put him in the basement so he doesn’t have to witness the murder. “She doesn’t want Halen to be traumatized.”
Use a gun rather than a knife because a knife is too messy. She doesn’t want blood all over the white leather couch.”
At some point Pam asked the teens how she should act when she “discovered” Greg’s body that night, whether she should scream, or call for help.
One of the boys told her, “Just act natural.”
May 1st, 1990
The last day of Gregory Smart’s life began like any other workday. It was a foggy morning at 4E Misty Morning Drive with the promise of rain in the air. Up early, Greg and Pam took care of their routine of showers, hot coffees, and exchange of pleasantries. Their puppy, Halen, also had to be tended to before they went to work. While Greg would have gone about his business like any other workday, nothing really pressing on his mind, Pam was fully aware that the murderous plan would unfold that evening.
Pam usually headed out the door first, but that Tuesday morning Greg was the first to leave for work. Later than usual, at about 9:45 a.m., Pam drove her Honda CRX with a New Hampshire vanity plate HALEN, another tribute to her favorite rock band, her dog, and to her job in coastal Hampton. She had planned on coming home later than usual that evening, well after dark. The meeting with the school board would go late because they were having a salary review and a discussion regarding a media class that she was interested in teaching in the fall. She would not arrive home until well after Greg was dead.
Pam dropped by Billy Flynn’s high school locker that day to let him know that the bulkhead doors were left open. All was set, ready to go. That day she even wore all her gold chains and a ring on every finger, so that she would not lose her favorite pieces of jewelry that evening.
A Snag In The Plan
By about 2:30 p.m., Bill called Pam to let her know that there was a snag in the plan. He said that they needed a ride to go pick up the getaway car, J.R.’s grandmother’s 1978 Chevrolet yellow Impala. Pam agreed to go over in a little while.
According to plan, while Lattime and Fowler were killing time at the plaza, Flynn and Randall entered the condominium. Sawicki pieced together what happened next: “Number one on their list was the dog. The boys went upstairs, but when Billy stooped to pick up Halen, the Shih-Tzu began to bark and growl and scampered away. Flynn chased the dog around the couch before he finally got his hands on it. The boys would later laugh that they threw the animal into the basement and heard the thump-thump-thump as it tumbled down the stairs.”
They ransacked the house, busying themselves taking jewelry and other items, including dissembling equipment on the entertainment center. They left a small pair of stereo speakers by the door, intending to take them when they left.
Then the two lanky teenagers waited in the dark for Greg Smart to come home. Bill had tried to kill Greg Smart before and Pamela had made it very clear that this time it better go down without a hitch.
“Where the hell is he?” Pete whispered.
“I don’t know,” Bill muttered, “but I wish to hell he’d hurry up.”
He did a quick little jig, rearranging the unfamiliar and uncomfortable object he had stuck in his waistband: a snub-nosed revolver that another friend, J.R., had sneaked out of his father’s gun collection.
It Was Game On
Everything was ready: a ransacked house, dark shapes on the floor near the back door and a black pillowcase that contained CDs and costume jewelry. As if on cue, powerful headlights lit up the kitchen window as an engine pulled up to the condo. In their excitement of the moment, they reversed their agreed upon places. Bill ended up behind the door while Pete stood on the stairs.
It was only a few moments before silence enveloped the condo as the Toyota’s rumbling stopped. Then, all was dark as the pickup’s lights were extinguished. Several minutes later, Greg turned the key in the lock. The door opened. Greg flipped on the light while calling out to the puppy, “Halen!”
Billy leaped out, ambushing Greg as he came in the door, grabbing the shoulders of his coat. In the next few minutes, Greg was overpowered by the two youths. At some point Greg handed over his billfold and when Pete told Greg to give them the wedding band on his left hand, Greg said, “No! I can’t do that. My wife would kill me!”
The final words were Billy saying, “God forgive me!” as he squeezed the trigger only inches from Greg’s head. The shot rang out and Greg toppled over.
Flynn and Randall ran out of the condo, back to the getaway car where Lattime and Fowler waited, eventually making their way back home. Pam would later tell Billy that while driving to Hampton, she had actually seen their car on the road and had flicked her lights at them in greeting.
After The Murder
It was Pam Ann Smart’s demeanor, as the grieving widow, that just did not ring true for Detective Daniel Pelletier. At 28 years of age, he had already seen many people in the aftermath of tragedies. The Smart murder case was Pelletier’s third investigation in his three years as a Derry detective, having spent the previous six years as a police officer. He felt very uncomfortable with Pam’s reaction after the murder. It set off another series of red flags.
“From day one,” he said, “she wasn’t acting the grieving widow.”
“She insisted on an immediate interview,” Pelletier said, “so Charewicz and I took her to the police department. She said: ‘This looks like a botched burglary. The first thing I saw was the speakers off the stand.’
“I remember looking at Barry, thinking:” the first thing she saw was the speakers? What about her husband on the floor?
“She said, ‘When I walked over to the body…'” Another red flag, but he still gave her the benefit of the doubt.
Pelletier cocked an eyebrow as he spoke her words. “Not ‘my husband,’ but ‘the body.’ Kind of strange, I thought, but maybe she’s in shock.”
Pamela Ann Smart Never Lost Her Composure
Working with people in the aftermath of a crime, he would have seen many reactions. Everyone has their own style of grieving, with some crying and wailing, some stoic and silent, others simply throwing themselves into keeping busy. But in this case, Pam never lost her composure, seemingly in total control. It was even her idea to give an interview just one day after finding her husband’s dead body.
Pamela also set off another alarm bell with her misplaced anxiety over the family pet. While the Derry police were processing the crime scene with the New Hampshire State Police Major Crimes Unit, she expressed over and over, to friends, to neighbors, to anyone who would listen, her concern for Halen. Even after it was obvious that Halen was safe, she kept saying,” I wish they would tell me about my dog. I just want to know if he’s all right.”
But the last straw, the one that really set off Pelletier’s alarm bells was two or three days later when he accompanied her to her condo to pick up some items, seeing that it was still a secured crime scene. The grieving widow nonchalantly walked on the blood soaked area of the carpet where Greg’s head had lain. And not just one time, but repeatedly.
He recalled, “Finally, her mother covered it with a towel.” But this did not deter Pam, as she continually stepped on the towel, while everyone else at the crime scene made a point of stepping around it.
The callousness that Pam showed was the biggest red flag of all. On May 2, just one day after the murder, several detectives met to discuss their initial findings. One detective commented, “You know, I think she did it.”
An Anonymous Tip
It was two weeks into the investigation of Gregory Smart’s death, with only random leads for Pelletier’s squad to follow-up, when he fielded an anonymous tip. A female caller told him that a teen named Cecelia Pierce of Seabrook knew that Pamela Ann Smart planned Greg’s death with three teenage boys.
Then, at noon on Sunday, June 10th, more evidence was revealed when Vance Lattime Sr. brought a snub-nosed .38-caliber revolver to the Seabrook police headquarters, believing that the pistol might have been a murder weapon. It wasn’t long before the murder case with the Seabrook angle connected Pamela Ann Smart. Mr. and Mrs. Lattime recognized her name as one that their son and his pals had mentioned.
Derry’s detectives went to Seabrook. Lattime told Charewicz that Ralph Welch overheard J.R. and Pete discussing their involvement in a homicide, mentioning Raymond Fowler and Billy Flynn. Welch then told his surrogate father, Lattime Sr., early Sunday morning. “I’d grown up with them,” Welch told the jury later. “I couldn’t believe my best buddies could do something like this.”
On Monday, June 11, they spoke to Cecelia Eaton but it wasn’t until Thursday that Cecelia told all. The boys were still not talking. The detectives only had Fowler’s affidavit and Pierce’s account. They needed more.
Caught On Tape
Pam was losing control of Cecelia. Unconcerned, Pam figured that she would be believable. Ironically, Pam’s intuition of Cecelia catching her on tape was exactly what happened. The police set up two brief telephone intercepts, and fixed Cecelia up with two body wire sessions. Unbeknownst to Pam, the tapes would tell another tale.
“Seeing what happened, wouldn’t you rather have just divorced Greg?” asked Cecelia while surreptitiously taping their conversation for the police.
“Well, I don’t know, you know. Nothing was going wrong until they fucking told Ralph [Welch].”
“No shit!” said Cecelia. Apparently, Ralph Welch was talking to the police. He was interviewed by the press and told others as well.
“It’s their stupid-ass faults … that they told Ralph, you know,” Pam said.
“I can’t even believe they told him,” agreed Cecelia. “Now they’re in jail and like every time I hear Motley Crew I think of Bill.”
“Yeah, So do I. Tell me about it. … That’s the thing. I never fucking paid ’em. Somebody told me I gave J.R. a stereo and stuff. …You know, if they get certified as juveniles, then nobody will ever know anything, and they’ll all be out in a year, you know, when they turn 18. … but I’m just like, what the hell, I’ve already got the best friggin’ lawyers anywhere.”
“Yeah. But they’re fucking wicked expensive, but what could I do?”
“Obviously you can afford it.”
“No goddamn fucking [way],” said Pam. “Didn’t I need them? But right now they don’t have to do anything unless I’m arrested, and if I get arrested, then they have to do shit. … So they can’t convict me ’cause of fucking J.R.’s-sixteen-year-old-word-in-the-slammer- facing-the-rest-of-his-life.”
“Well, first of all,” said Cecelia, “you didn’t offer to pay him, right?”
“So he’s not gonna say that you offered to pay him,” continued Cecelia. “He’s going to say that you knew about it before it happened, which is the truth.”
“Right,” she agreed. “Well, so then I’ll have to say, “No, I didn’t” and then they’re either gonna believe me or they are gonna believe J.R.-sixteen-years-old-in-the-slammer. And then who [will they believe]? Me, with a professional reputation, and of course that I teach. You know, that’s the thing. They are going to believe me.
“All right,” said Cecelia. “Well, I’ll call you.”
Pam then invited Cecelia over later so that they could go out together. “You’d better be there,” Pam said jokingly, “or I’ll come after you with my Rambo knife.”
Wednesday, August 1st, 1990
At 1:05 p.m., Pelletier entered Pamela Smart’s office unannounced. Pam recognized him, having spoken to him on at least six other occasions.
“Hi!” said Pamela.
“Hi!” he replied, as Captain Jackson and another detective stepped into the room.
Taken by surprise she asks, “What’s up?”
“Well, Pam,” Pelletier said. “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?” she asks.
“First-degree murder. Stand up and face the wall.”
Pamela Ann Smart was then arraigned in Derry District Court and jailed. She has been behind bars ever since.
“She thought she was smart, but she had no street smarts. Nine-year-olds have more street smarts than she had,” Jackson said. “That was the problem. She thought she was smarter than the whole world. But she made many mistakes, right and left.”
The Hanging Judge
“I never would have killed Greg if it wasn’t for Pam,” testified Billy Flynn.
Judge Douglas Gray of the Rockingham County Superior Court, assigned the Smart case, was seated at the bench in front of the American and New Hampshire flags. Mounted on the wall behind him was a gold American eagle, wings spread, carved by his own hands. An imposing six foot five, at fifty-seven, Judge Gray also had an imperious nature to go along with it. Dubbed the “Hanging Judge,” in the New Hampshire State Prison in Concord, his intimidating reputation behind the bench preceded him.
Pamela Ann Smart entered the courtroom wearing a dark blue suit, thinner than she was when first arrested. She had lost so much weight that her mother had to pin her skirt to fit before court started. Her hair had been recently highlighted and she wore it longer.
The Prosecutor Speaks
Prosecutor Diane Nicolosi began her opening statement: “On May 1st, 1990, Gregory Smart came home from a late business meeting. …He opened his front door, he turned on his lights, and he called for his dog. But his dog didn’t respond that night.”
For the first time the public would hear firsthand about what happened that evening. In Billy’s riveting testimony as he knelt before the jury, showing them the way that it happened with Greg that night, he said, “I cocked the hammer back and pointed the gun at his head,” he said, nearly whispering, his head bowed. “I just stood there…for a hundred years, it seemed like.”
“I said, ‘God, forgive me.’…I pulled the trigger.”
The Smart murder trial was all about control. The question was whether Pamela Ann Smart manipulated and controlled Billy Flynn, and, in turn, his friends, to kill her husband. While Pam acknowledged having a sexual liaison with Billy, she denied any foreknowledge of the murder. She said that she was only pretending to know about it in her taped conversation with Cecelia Pierce, so that she could further the investigation. Near the end of her testimony she spoke out to prosecutor Paul Maggiotto: “If I was guilty, I would have pled guilty and plea-bargained like the rest of them.”
The Only Possible Verdict
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Nicolosi concluded, “we are sure that when you hear the testimony of William Flynn, Patrick Randall, Vance Lattime Jr., Cecelia Pierce, and all of the other witnesses that we’ll present to you at this trial, that you will come to the only possible verdicts in this case. At the close of the trial, Paul Maggiotto will stand before you and he will ask that you return three verdicts of guilty.”
After the jury deliberated for 13 hours, on March 22nd, they did just that, bringing back a guilty verdict. Judge Gray immediately sentenced Smart to life without parole on the count of accomplice to first-degree murder. Another hearing would see her sentenced on two other counts, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and witness tampering.
Fowler, just out of jail and probably wanting the money, was also involved in an early attempt to ambush Greg Smart and was waiting in the car with J.R. the night Greg was killed. Although in his affidavit he claims that he was not aware of any murder and had just gone along for the ride, his failure to report the attempt and of his cleaning the murder weapon cost him 30 years in a separate prosecution.
Flynn and Randall, certified as adults, turned state’s evidence in January, received 40 years; Lattime got 30 years. It was their testimony, along with Welch’s statements, and Pierce’s tapes that ended up being the most incriminating.
Black Widow Women
Pamela Ann Smart’s case brought to the forefront a phenomenon that is increasingly gaining attention: females who kill. Compared to men, women commit very little crime. It is so rare, little is known about the female offender. Women offenders differ considerably from their male counterparts, in that, women do not commit criminal acts as often and their patterns of offending, as well as their motivations, are different. When a woman commits a crime it is usually a minor property offense, predominantly shoplifting and welfare fraud. Rarely do women commit violent offenses. However, when they do, murder and assault are common. Those women who have committed homicide fall into two groups: the younger offenders usually kill their children, while those middle-aged kill their abusive spouses.
Pamela Ann Smart is a typical female murderer in that she perpetrated violence in her home, murdering her husband. However, unlike most other women who kill, she did not kill an abusive spouse. Pam’s motive was very different. What little is known about this rare sort of murderess is that she typically kills for money or for convenience. “Black widows” defy systematic investigation yet illicit an inordinate amount of media and public attention. Pam was only seen briefly by a psychiatrist in 1990, but never had a thorough psychological evaluation.
She Still Claims No Responsibility
Pam has received thousands of letters from all over the U.S. Her only regrets are any past actions that had some effect on the outcome of her case. “Of course, I regret ever being involved with Bill Flynn,” Smart said. “That was a horrible mistake that I am paying a terrible price for, as I am innocent of any involvement in the plot to murder Greg.
“Yes, I made the mistake of having an affair with Bill Flynn, but I wish the public would stop defining me by that one mistake,” Smart said. “There is more to me than my worst error in judgment.” She fulfills herself in prison through her educational goals. “I am very different from the media’s portrayal of me,” she said. “I am not a cold, uncaring individual.”
10 Years In
Pamela Smart spoke in a rare interview to the Portsmouth Herald from the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in Bedford Hills, N.Y., where she is currently serving her sentence. Ten years after the murder she seeks a new trial, claiming that her life is “stressful, sad, painful and tragic.” She continues to proclaim her innocence: “I have spent 10 years in prison for a crime I had no involvement in,” Smart said. “I have been horribly punished for having an affair. The sentence I received is, in effect, a sentence of death in that I will never be eligible for parole.”
Her appeal in 1991 was denied. In 1997 she sought a new trial, which was also denied yet she continues in her efforts to get a new trial underway. While incarcerated, two women assaulted Pam and she brought them to court, the judge deciding in her favor.
Flynn, Lattime and Randall, in their mid-20s, are all housed in the Thomaston State Prison in Maine. They all earned their GEDs: Flynn joined a prison ministry group; Lattime works in the print shop while Randall learned carpentry. Lattime’s sentence was reduced by three years making him eligible for parole in 2005. Randall and Flynn are eligible for parole in 2018, when they will be in their forties.
Cecelia Pierce signed up for $100,000 option for the screen rights to her story.
credit murderpedia / as originally told by Jan Bouchard Drive