Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Schoolteacher Convicted in Murder Scheme : Crime: Pamela Smart, 23, is sentenced to life in prison without parole. She was accused of seducing a student and coercing him to kill her husband.

March 23, 1991|From Associated Press

EXETER, N.H. — A high school teacher was convicted Friday and sentenced to life in prison without parole after a sensational trial on charges that she manipulated her student lover into murdering her husband.

Pamela Smart, 23, stood motionless as the Superior Court jury foreman pronounced her guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and being an accomplice to murder.

Judith Smart, who cried out as each verdict in her son's death was read, said afterward: "She got what she deserved."

Judith and William Smart then left the courthouse for the cemetery where their son is buried. "We're going to tell Gregg," William Smart said. "We're going to tell him that, by God, she did do it."

Gregg Smart, a 24-year-old insurance agent, was murdered six days before his first wedding anniversary.

The jury, which heard three weeks of testimony, deliberated 12 hours over three days before returning its verdict. Smart was also convicted of witness tampering for encouraging her student intern to lie to police.

Rockingham County Superior Court Judge Douglas Gray immediately announced the mandatory sentence for the more serious charges. An appeal is expected.

Smart was the school district media coordinator when she met teen-ager William Flynn as one of his instructors in a self-awareness program at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, N.H., in late 1989. She worked in the program, intended to discourage drug and alcohol use, as well as on non-credit student video projects.

Prosecutors said the former high school cheerleader and college honor student tantalized and seduced Flynn, then 15, and later threatened to end their affair unless he murdered her husband. Smart testified that she broke off the affair just before the murder.

Prosecutors said that Smart feared losing everything in a divorce, including her Shih Tzu dog and furniture.

The defense called Flynn and two confessed accomplices "thrill-killers" who shot Gregg Smart on their own last May 1, then framed his widow to avoid life prison terms. As part of plea bargains, they face minimum sentences ranging from 18 to 28 years in prison.

Testimony in the case was broadcast live by WMUR-TV in Manchester, N. H. The Boston Herald, which dubbed Smart the "Ice Princess," invited readers to "be the judge" by calling in their verdicts on a 900 telephone number. They voted guilty, 543 to 101.

The most damaging pieces of evidence against Smart were four secretly recorded conversations she had with Cecelia Pierce, 16, her student intern and confidante. The profanity-laden tapes made after the murder showed that Smart urged Pierce to lie to police, that she feared being jailed herself and that she knew her husband would be murdered.

Smart testified that she pretended to know more about the murder as a "game" to get Pierce to tell everything she knew.

Flynn, sobbing as he testified on March 12, admitted pulling the trigger on a .38-caliber pistol he held to Smart's head.

Flynn and Patrick Randall, 17, testified that they entered the Smarts' condominium through a basement door that Pamela Smart had left unlocked for them.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|