Pamela Smart and Billy Flynn met when Smart was a 22-year-old teacher and Flynn was her 15-year-old student at a New Hampshire high school. They became friends when Flynn was producing a juice commercial for a contest. The friendship quickly turned to love, and love turned to murder. Gregg Smart, Pam Smart’s husband, was fatally shot by the teen who called on the help of his friends to murder the 24-year-old insurance salesman.
Pamela Smart was a teacher and media services director at Winnacunnet Regional High School in Hampton, New Hampshire. She had no criminal history, and her friends and family said she deeply loved her husband. Smart had high aspirations, according to a Boston Globe article from August 12, 1990. Her goal was to become “the next Barbara Walters” and work for 20/20.
Smart is telling her story to ABC’s 20/20 on Friday, January 10, 2020. It airs at 9 p.m. EST. Nearly three decades after the murder of her husband, Smart continues to profess her innocence.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Pam Smart & Billy Flynn Met at School While Making an Orange Juice Commercial for a Contest
Pamela Smart was a teacher and media services director at Winnacunnet Regional High School in Hampton, New Hampshire, where William “Billy” Flynn was a student. Flynn was 15 when they met and 16 at the time of the murder. The affair began with orange juice.
Pam Smart met Billy Flynn and another student, Cecelia Pierce, while the students were producing an orange juice commercial for a contest. The affair quickly turned to murder, when Smart told her young lover they could only continue seeing each other if he killed her husband, according to a decision filed in 1993 by the Supreme Court of New Hampshire.
“In the fall of 1989, the twenty-two-year-old married defendant was the director of media services for the school district that included Winnacunnet High School in Hampton,” the court decision says. “She met and befriended William Flynn and Cecelia Pierce, two fifteen-year-old high school students from Seabrook, and they and other students worked together after school hours to produce an orange juice commercial for a contest. Eventually, in February or March of 1990, the defendant and Flynn became sexually involved,” the court decision said. “Shortly after their affair began, the defendant told Flynn that in order for them to continue their relationship they would have to kill her husband, Gregory, a twenty-four-year-old insurance salesman to whom the defendant had been married less than a year. Eventually the defendant and Flynn together planned that Flynn would commit the murder with the help of his friends, and would stage the killing as if committed in the course of a burglary of the defendant’s home.”
You can read the court decision in full here.
2. Pamela Smart Was a Former Disc Jockey Who Dreamed of Becoming the Next Barbara Walters & Work on 20/20
Pamela Smart and William “Billy” Flynn met in school. Smart was a 22-year-old teacher and Flynn was a 15-year-old student. Fynn was 16 at the time of the murder. Smart worked as a high school media services director and met Billy Flynn while he and another student, Ceceilia Pierce, were making a commercial for orange juice for a contest.
Smart did not have a criminal record, and she did not have a troubling reputation, according to a Boston Globe article from August 12, 1990.
“A former disc jockey who friends say dreamed of becoming the next Barbara Walters, Smart yesterday sat in a prison cell, her quest interrupted by charges that – if she is convicted of them – could keep her behind bars for life,” the article said. “If she had a criminal record or a seamy reputation, Smart’s arrest Aug. 1 for her alleged role in her husband’s slaying may have raised few eyebrows. But because her family, friends and colleagues have consistently portrayed Smart as a woman of many virtues and virtually no vices who deeply loved her late husband, Smart’s predicament has bewildered many.”
3. Prosecutors Alleged Pam Smart Favored Murder to Divorce Because She Did Not Want Her Husband to Get Their Dog, House & Furniture
Prosecutors in the murder case painted Pamela Smart as a woman who valued her dog, house and furniture over the life of her husband. Instead of divorcing her husband of less than one year, she conspired with 16-year-old Billy Flynn to murder Gregg Smart because she did not want him to take her dog, townhouse and furniture through divorce proceedings, according to a Boston Globe article from August 12, 1990.
“If Greg is looking down on all this now, you can bet he’s absolutely shocked,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
“Shocked perhaps at the allegation that his wife decided to kill him because she had fallen in love with a 16-year-old student,” the Globe went on to say. “Shocked that she allegedly favored murder over divorce because she feared her husband would get the dog, the furniture and the townhouse if they split. And maybe shocked, too, by the brutal method police say his wife devised to end his life on the threshold of their home on Misty Morning Drive.”
You can read more about the brutal murder of Gregg Smart here.
Billy Flynn Bonded With Pamela Smart Over Heavy Metal & Pam Called Herself ‘The Maiden of Metal’
Both Pamela Smart and her teen student and lover, Billy Flynn, were fans of metal music. Pamela Smart called herself “The Maiden of Metal.” She was a fan of Van Halen and even had a vanity plate which said, “HALEN,” according to a Boston Globe article from August 12, 1990. One of Van Halen’s most popular songs was “Hot for Teacher,” which includes a music video that appears to show a teacher seducing her student.
“Flynn, a heavy metal fan, was quickly taken with her, he testified during the trial. As Smart’s marriage began to founder, she repeatedly used overtures of love and threats of rejection to manipulate Flynn into killing her husband, a 24-year-old insurance agent whose newly adopted ‘yuppie’ lifestyle she abhorred, according to testimony,” the Boston Globe reported on May 23, 1991, following Smart’s trial.
The teens initially suggested they stab Gregg Smart, but Pamela Smart worried there would be too much blood, and that it would stain her white leather furniture, according to testimony presented at her trial and reported by the Boston Globe on March 23, 1991. Instead, the teens ambushed Smart, and Flynn and Randall beat him and forced him to his knees. Randall put a butcher knife to Flynn’s throat, and Flynn pulled the trigger saying “God forgive me,” as Smart pleaded for his life, the Globe reported.
5. Billy Flynn Testified ‘I Did it For Pam’ at Her Murder Trial
William “Billy” Flynn testified at Pamela Smart’s murder trial in the death of Gregg Smart, saying he did it so they could be together, according to a Boston Globe article published March 23, 1991 following the trial.
“I did it for Pam,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. “I loved her, and she told me that was the only way we could be together.”
He called on his friends to help him murder his lover’s husband after she told him their relationship could not continue otherwise, according to a decision filed in 1993 by the Supreme Court of New Hampshire. Pam Smart discussed details of the plot, including how to react after the murder. She told the teen she would leave a door open for them and advised them to stage the crime scene to look like a burglary.
Gregg Smart was murdered on the teens’ second attempt at murder. Flynn, Lattime, Randall and another teen, Raymond Fowler, had plotted to kill Gregg Smart earlier, but when they saw Gregg Smart’s truck in the driveway, indicating he was already home, they abandoned the plan. Smart told the teens they could take whatever they wanted from the house as payment, and Flynn told his friends she would pay them each $500.
Flynn, Lattime and Randall pleaded guilty to reduced charges in January 1991.
Friends told the Boston Globe in August, 1990, that Pamela Smart promised the teens 10 percent of her husband’s $140,000 life insurance policy, or $14,000, but officials would not confirm the payment promise at the time.
The court decision says:
Shortly after their affair began, the defendant told Flynn that in order for them to continue their relationship they would have to kill
her husband, Gregory, a twenty-four-year-old insurance salesman to whom the defendant had been married less than a year. Eventually the defendant and Flynn together planned that Flynn would commit the murder with the help of his friends, and would stage the killing as if committed in the course of a burglary of the defendant’s home. According to the plan devised by the defendant, she would leave open the bulkhead door to the basement of her home to provide entry for Flynn and the others before Gregory returned home. The perpetrators were to park their car in a shopping center behind the residence and change into dark clothes before approaching the apartment. The defendant advised Flynn that he and his accomplices should wear gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints and should ransack the apartment, taking away whatever they wanted as compensation. Pursuant to the defendant’s plan, her husband was to be killed with a gun upon entering his home as if he had surprised burglars.
Flynn discussed the plan with his friends Pete Randall and Vance Lattime, Jr., also teenagers from Seabrook. With the aid of another boy, Raymond Fowler, Flynn set out from Hampton to commit the murder one night in April, using the defendant’s car. When the two arrived at the defendant’s apartment complex, however, they saw her husband’s truck and abandoned the plan. After this unsuccessful attempt, Flynn recruited Randall and Lattime to help execute the plan. He told them that the defendant had agreed to pay them five hundred dollars each for committing the murder. Lattime provided his father’s .38 caliber revolver and his grandmother’s car to transport the boys from Seabrook to the defendant’s Derry apartment.
After school ended on May 1, 1990, the defendant drove Flynn, Randall and Lattime to pick up Lattime’s grandmother’s car in Massachusetts. The defendant discussed with them the various details of the murder plan, seeking advice on how to react when she returned home and discovered her husband murdered. Lattime and Randall returned to Seabrook in Lattime’s grandmother’s car. The defendant drove Flynn back to Seabrook to meet them and then went to Winnacunnet High School to attend a meeting scheduled for that evening.
Flynn, Randall and Lattime picked up Fowler and drove to the defendant’s residence. While Lattime and Fowler waited with the car at the shopping center, Flynn and Randall entered the defendant’s apartment through the unlocked bulkhead into the basement. After ransacking both the upstairs and downstairs of the apartment, they waited for Gregory to return home, with Flynn carrying the gun and Randall holding a knife he had taken from the kitchen. When Gregory came home, the boys forced him to his knees. While Randall with one hand held Gregory’s head down and with the other hand held a knife in front of his face, Flynn shot him once in the head. Taking a pillowcase they had filled with jewelry, the boys fled to meet Fowler and Lattime, and the four drove back to Seabrook. The next day, Lattime replaced the gun among the rest of his father’s collection.
On June 10, Ralph Welch, a friend of Lattime, told Lattime’s parents that Randall and Lattime had admitted to him their participation in the murder. Lattime’s parents took the gun to the Seabrook Police Department, accompanied by Welch, and subsequent ballistics tests confirmed that the gun had been used in the murder.
Worried because of Welch’s intentions to go to the police, Randall and Lattime went to see Flynn and the defendant at the latter’s new condominium in Hampton. After discussing the matter, the defendant drove them to Seabrook in an unsuccessful attempt to retrieve the gun. The next night, June 11, Lattime, Randall and Flynn were arrested.