It is in Derry, in the American state of New Hampshire, that this case takes root. On May 1, 1990, 22-year-old Pamela Smart came home from work when she found her husband, 24-year-old Greggory Smart, shot dead. In the upside-down apartment, everything suggests that the young man is the victim of a burglary that would have gone wrong. Devastated, young Pamela contacts the authorities. A homicide investigation is opened, kicking off a long series of twists and turns…

While the investigators favor the lead of the burglary, the father of a certain Vance “J.R.” Lattime, a high school student at Winnacunnet High School, finds a .38 caliber pistol in his home. Thinking it might be the murder weapon, he hands it over to the authorities, who effectively link it to the murder of Gregg Smart. Meanwhile, on May 14, 1990, Rockingham County police learned from an anonymous source that another high school student, Cecelia Pierce, had vital information for the investigation. The young woman is immediately interrogated. Against all expectations, she denounces William “Billy” Flynn, a 15-year-old high school student, and two of his friends, Patrick Randall and Vance Lattime, as responsible for the murder.

A murder or a broken heart

But that’s not all. According to Cecilia Pierce, the real initiator of the crime is none other than Gregg Smart’s wife, Pamela. According to her, the young high school employee had a relationship with Billy Flynn and asked him to kill her husband to avoid a divorce, threatening to leave him and stop “sleeping with him” if he refused. Cecelia is even able to provide evidence: recordings of conversations between Pamela and her lover. On one of the tapes, we distinctly hear the first say to the second: “If you tell the fucking truth, you will send me behind bars for the rest of my fucking life.” A grim prediction.

Faced with these revelations, Inspector Daniel Pelletier asks Pierce to wear a bug to obtain Smart’s confession. He gets them. The case is closed. Judged in March 1991, Pamela Smart will try to blame Flynn, assuring that he would have lost his mind when he learned that she wanted to pick up the pieces with her husband. She will fail and will be sentenced to incompressible life imprisonment. Billy Flynn, Patrick Randall and Vance Lattime, considered very young and impressionable, will receive life imprisonment with respective security sentences of 40, 40 and 30 years.

Since then, Billy Flynn and his two accomplices have been released on parole. Pamela Smart is still incarcerated. She recently requested relief from her sentence, confident: “I offer no excuse for my behavior 31 years ago and I take responsibility for all the pain that has resulted. It is a burden that I will wear for the rest of my life.”

Pamela and Greggory Smart © DR

Lara T.
Lara T.

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