A timeline of the Pamela Smart case in the killing of her husband

A forbidden relationship between a teacher and her student started with an affair and ended in the 1990 killing of the teacher’s husband.

Pamela Smart, then 22, was a high school media director when she began an affair with 15-year-old Billy Flynn. In her trial, prosecutors said Smart then coaxed Flynn into carrying out the murder plot with two teenage friends. Flynn admitted to killing Gregg Smart, along with two accomplices, and all three worked out plea bargains.

Smart’s trial — one of the first in the US to allow cameras in the courtroom — riveted the world with its mixture of sex, adultery and the story of the intimate relationship between an adult and a juvenile. More than 20 years later, the story is back in focus with Smart, who is serving life in prison, accepting responsibility for her husband’s killing for the first time.

Here’s a timeline of Pamela Smart’s murder conspiracy plot, the resulting legal cases and convictions.

The shooting

May 1, 1990: On this evening, teenager Flynn said, he and a friend ambushed Gregg Smart, Pamela’s husband, as he arrived home to his condo in Derry, New Hampshire. The husband was on his knees, begging for his life, according to prosecutors. Flynn fired a bullet into Smart’s head in a hallway where his wife later found his body. The teenagers made the scene look like a break-in.

Pamela Smart’s storyline was part of the inspiration for Joyce Maynard’s 1992 novel “To Die For,” which was later adapted into a 1995 movie starring Nicole Kidman and Joaquin Phoenix.

August 1, 1990: Smart was arrested three months after the shooting. Her mother, Linda Wojas, said she was never told her daughter was a suspect at the time, she told CNN’s Larry King in 1991.

Police are seen outside of Pamela Smart's home in March 1991. - WMUR
Police are seen outside of Pamela Smart's home in March 1991. - WMUR

A riveting trial

January 28, 1991: Flynn, 17, and two accomplices, Patrick Randall, 17, and Vance Lattime Jr., 18, pleaded guilty to the shooting death of Gregory Smart, according to the Associated Press.

All were facing first-degree murder charges but pleaded guilty to charges related to second-degree murder and were given lighter sentences in exchange for testimony against Smart, CNN reported.

That same night, Raymond Fowler, 19, was arrested in connection with the plot, according to the AP. Police said the charges were from a separate attempt on Gregory Smart’s life before the actual murder.

March 4, 1991: Oral arguments began in Smart’s murder conspiracy trial in the Rockingham County Superior Court in Exeter, New Hampshire. Smart was on trial on suspicion of plotting the murder of her husband just before their first wedding anniversary.

Prosecutors alleged Smart was after her husband’s $140,000 life insurance policy. Smart allegedly seduced Flynn and threatened to stop having sex with him unless he killed her husband, prosecutors said.

The trial drew a lot of attention — people lined up and had to have tickets to enter the courtroom. People who couldn’t get in watched from TV monitors in another room, while television crews and reporters crammed into the press room.


March 22, 1991: Smart was convicted of being an accomplice to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and tampering with a witness. She was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

August 20, 1992: Flynn was sentenced to 28 years to life in prison for second-degree murder as part of his negotiated plea deal, according to CNN affiliate WMUR. Flynn had sobbed on the witness stand during Smart’s trial, saying he didn’t want to lose her, who he called his first love, so he went forward with her plan, as reported by CNN.

William Flynn, 17, is shown the gun he used at Pamela Smart's trial on March 12, 1991. Flynn told jurors how he, with the help of his girlfriend Smart, killed her husband. - Jim Cole/AP
William Flynn, 17, is shown the gun he used at Pamela Smart's trial on March 12, 1991. Flynn told jurors how he, with the help of his girlfriend Smart, killed her husband. - Jim Cole/AP

August 23, 1992: Randall, one of the accomplices, was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison with 12 years of the minimum sentence deferred for second-degree murder, according to WMUR. His sentence was later reduced.

The getaway car driver, Lattime, was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison, as part of his plea deal, according to WMUR. Fowler, a passenger in the car, was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison as part of his plea deal.

The appeals

July 2005: The state’s Executive Council denies Smart’s request for a pardon hearing, according to WMUR.

May 15, 2019: The Executive Council voted to deny Smart of a commutation hearing, according to WMUR. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu agreed with the council’s decision.

March 23, 2022: The Executive Council rejected Smart’s third request, according to the AP. Smart went to the state Supreme Court, which dismissed the petition.

Freedom for some

March 12, 2015: After serving 25 years in prison, Flynn was paroled, according to WMUR. It was his 41st birthday.

Flynn and Randall were released on parole on June 4, 2015, according to WMUR. And Fowler and Lattime were out on parole the year prior.

Accepting responsibility

June 11, 2024: For the first time, Smart accepted full responsibility for the death of her husband in a videotaped statement Tuesday, according to the AP. The video was released as a part of her most recent request for a sentence reduction. Smart asked Gov. Sununu and the state’s Executive Council for a commutation hearing, as she has exhausted her other court appeals options.

Smart is serving life in prison at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, New York.

CNN’s Hayley Wilson and Gary Tuchman contributed to this report.

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