Pamela Smart Trial: 1991
Payoff For Murder: Stereo Speakers And $250, The Ice Melts
Defendant: Pamela Smart
Crime Charged: Conspiracy to commit murder
Chief Defense Lawyers: Mark Sisti and Paul Twomey
Chief Prosecutors: Paul Maggiotto and Diane Nicolosi
Judge: Douglas R. Gray
Place: Exeter, New Hampshire
Dates of Trial: March 4-22, 1991
Sentence: Life imprisonment
SIGNIFICANCE: Millions watched this trial on live television, fascinated by the sensational saga of a murderous plot hatched in high school involving sex and the lure of life insurance money.
Just one week before his first wedding anniversary, Gregory Smart, a 24-year-old insurance salesman, was shot dead at his New Hampshire condominium during what appeared to be a botched burglary. Six weeks later William Flynn, 16, Vance Lattime, 17, and Patrick Randall, 18, were arrested and charged with the murder. All three pleaded guilty. In return for reduced sentences the teenagers agreed to testify against the person they claimed persuaded them to carry out the killing: Pamela Smart, wife of the dead man.
When oral argument commenced March 4, 1991, Assistant Attorney General Diane Nicolosi portrayed the teenagers as naive victims of an evil woman bent on murder. Nicolosi claimed that Smart, a 22-year-old high-school teacher, seduced Flynn with the sole intent of duping him into murdering her husband, so that she might avoid an expensive divorce and benefit from a $140,000 lifeinsurance policy.
Graphic details of the murder were provided by Patrick Randall. He told how Flynn had enlisted his services, together with Vance Lattime, and how all three went to the Smart residence. While Lattime waited outside, Flynn and Randall ransacked the townhouse, then ambushed Greg Smart when he returned home from a sales meeting. Randall admitted holding a knife at Smart's throat as Flynn fired a. 38-caliber bullet through the victim's brain. Afterward the two took some jewelry to create the impression of a robbery gone wrong.
Defense counsel Mark Sisti bitterly denounced all of Randall's allegations, noting that only in the course of pleabargaining had he implicated Pamela Smart.
"Pamela Smart didn't make you kill anybody, right?" Sisti asked.
"No," agreed Randall.
"You went to kill Greg Smart for your friend Bill [Flynn], right?"
"Pamela Smart had nothing to do with that, correct?"
"Correct," Randall admitted.
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