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Pamela Smart Granted State Supreme Court Hearing In Husband’s 1990 Love Triangle Killing
"It feels like the last straw, the last stand," Pamela Smart said of the Feb 14. court hearing challenging her life sentence.
New Hampshire’s Supreme Court will hear arguments this week regarding Pamela Smart’s request to have her life sentence commuted.
Pamela Smart, 55, was convicted in 1991 and sentenced to life in prison in the fatal shooting of her then-24-year-old husband, Gregg Smart, a year earlier. Prosecutors said Pamela Smart convinced her teenage lover, Billy Flynn, to gun down her spouse.
Smart’s trial was both sensational and historic, marking the first time a court case was aired on live television from start to finish, Manchester television station WMUR-TV reported. Flynn, despite being the one to pull the trigger, along with a trio of other teens found guilty in the murder case, all served prison sentences and were subsequently freed.
Smart, meanwhile, has served more than 30 years behind bars. She’s long maintained that she never pressured Flynn, whom she met through her work at Winnacunnet High School to carry out Gregg Smart’s killing.
New Hampshire's Supreme Court is now slated to hear Smart's argument in favor of commuting her sentence on Tuesday. Her lawyers are now demanding the state's highest court order Gov. Chris Sununu and the Executive Council to review Smart’s petition for commutation.
"We're hopeful that it will result in Pamela Smart finally getting a real hearing before the Executive Council and the governor," Eleanor Pam, Smart’s spokesperson, told WMUR-TV.
Smart’s attorneys described her case as a “shameful” and “abominable” miscarriage of justice.
“It’s appalling,” Pam added.
"They took three minutes in the last Executive Council meeting to determine that she didn't deserve a hearing. And you put three minutes up against 33 years of her life? It seems Pam Smart is the only person in New Hampshire that hasn't gotten due process."
Over the years, Smart has lost a series of legal battles seeking her release. Last year, the New Hampshire Executive Council unanimously denied her a reduced sentence request in the decades-old murder.
The decision marked the third time the council had rejected Smart’s attempts to win a reprieve from her life sentence.
If the court rules in Smart’s favor at her Tuesday hearing, she may have the opportunity to plead her case before the governor and his executive council to ask for her sentence to be commuted. It could be her final chance at freedom — Smart has already exhausted previous appeals, per an ABC News report.
"In some respects the pieces are finally coming together," Smart, now 55, told ABC during a telephone interview while incarcerated at New York’s maximum security Bedford Hills Correctional Facility last month.
"It feels like the last straw, the last stand," Smart said. "If this doesn't work out, what is there after this?"
The attorney general’s office hasn’t publicly commented on the approaching hearing beyond arguments previously filed. Prosecutors, however, wrote in those earlier court filings that Smart’s request to have her sentence commuted should be denied “because the clemency power is an executive branch power, and there is no constitutionally mandated procedure dictating how Governor and Council must exercise that power."
At the case's original trial, an at-times tearful Flynn testified about how he held a butcher knife to Gregg Smart’s throat, as well as a gun, as the 24-year-old begged for his life.
“I said ‘God, forgive me,’” Flynn told the court. “I pulled the trigger.”
In another recent interview Smart gave from behind bars, she repeatedly insisted her only mistake was having an affair with Flynn in the first place.
“No one has ever explained any kind of sufficient motive for why I would want to murder my husband when I could have just gotten divorced,” she told “Dateline: Secrets Uncovered.” “My parents lived in a beautiful house right up the street. We had no children and no property or any — there was nothing to lose.”
Smart once again repeated during the Dateline interview that Flynn acted on his own accord after she broke things off with him.
“I think he felt like that was the only way he could be with me,” Smart added. “It was very clear that as long as I was married, I was never going to be with him.”