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Pamela Smart Seeks Release

Other defendants in her husband's 1990 slaying have all been released
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2021 3:39 PM CST
Pamela Smart Seeks Freedom 31 Years After Husband's Death
Pamela Smart is interviewed by WMUR in prison in Bedford Hills, N.Y., in 2010.   (WMUR Television via AP, File)

(Newser) – More than three decades after her husband was slain in their New Hampshire home, Pamela Smart has "accepted responsibility for her role in Gregg Smart's murder" and "expressed deep remorse and anguish concerning her conduct," her lawyers say. The claim is included in a new filing for a commutation of Smart's sentence. She's been imprisoned at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York longer than any other inmate, WMUR reports. "I have now spent over 31 years in prison—more than half my life," Smart, 54, wrote in her request. The four men convicted as teenagers in the killing have all been freed.

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Smart said her affair with one of them, Billy Flynn, led to her husband's death; Flynn admitted to the 1990 shooting. Every defendant in the case received a reduced sentence for testifying against Smart, per the Portsmouth Herald, who worked at a high school at the time of the killing. She received a life sentence without chance of parole. In her new filings, Smart did not admit to planning the crime, though she and her lawyers said she now accepts responsibility. "For many years, I blamed others for my incarceration because I was immature, selfish, and proud," she wrote, adding, "It took years, even decades for me to accept responsibility, and I must carry that burden."

The state Attorney General's Office said it's reviewing Smart's petition before the Executive Council votes on whether to hold a hearing. "If the council wants to take it up as a hearing," said Gov. Chris Sununu, "then we always kind of lean on them to decide if that's the right path forward." Smart told the governor and council that she's committed to doing good, not just being good. She has received a master’s degree in criminal law and one in English literature while in prison and become an ordained minister. This is Smart's third such request. "Please show Pamela the mercy that the state has shown the admitted murderers," her parents wrote. (Read more commutation stories.)

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