Hampton colleagues react with disbelief

By Susan Maddocks

The Hampton Union, August 3, 1990

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

People who worked with the 22-year-old woman arrested Wednesday for being an accomplice to her husband's murder said they were "shocked" when police swooped down on her office at School Administrative Unit 21 building and took her away.

Pamela Smart - described as "outgoing," "friendly," and "organized" by one co-worker - was arrested in Hampton by Derry Police and charged with being an accomplice to the May 1 murder of her husband, Gregory, 24.

Smart was found dead from a single gunshot wound to the head in the couple's 4E Misty Morning Dr. townhouse.

Three Seabrook youths were later charged with the crime.

After revelations Wednesday that Smart may have helped plan the crime, teachers at the Winnacunnet High School and a woman who worked with Smart on two school publications reacted with shock.

"I'm shocked. I've worked with her for a couple of years," said Melody Dahl Gabriel, a co-editor with Smart on the SAU 21 publication, "On The Move!" "She just doesn't seem like the type of person who could do something like that."

Gabriel described Smart as "very outgoing, very knowledgeable, and very organized."

When asked whether Smart ever talked of problems with her husband, or of wanting to kill him, Gabriel said, "no, she never mentioned anything."

"I would never think of her as doing something like that," Gabriel said.

Gabriel worked with Smart on two school publications, she said. Smart is the SAU 21 media director.

Terry Ward, a teacher at Winnacunnet High School, was also rocked by news of Smart's arrest.

"I can't really say, I guess I'm shocked." Ward said, "I didn't really know her well, but I used to rent films from her - she was the media director."

Ward said Smart's demeanor was always "very professional."

Before other teachers could be contacted, SAU 21 Superintendent James Weiss told teachers that they could not comment on the arrest.

"I, um, am not supposed to comment." said John Dover, a teacher at the high school. "Our principal made it real clear that it wouldn't be in the best interest of the school to comment."

That directive came from Weiss, according the Winnacunnet High School Assistant Principal Randy Zito, who quickly met reporters at the door of the school and ushered them away from Principal Roberta Newman's office, saying the superintendent was taking media questions.

Smart's co-workers at the SAU office appeared tense and wary when a reporter walked in.

When asked whether she was in the office when Smart was arrested, Evelyn Tebbetts said, "Excuse me, we're not allowed to make any comment."

Other co-workers kept their eyes fixed on their work and talked in hushed tones.

After a short wait, Assistant Superintendent Leon Worthley came out of an office to say that the superintendent was unavailable.

When asked why Smart's co-workers were not allowed to talk about the alleged murder accomplice, Worthley said, "We were told not to comment because we don't know anything yet."

"We're going to wait until we have more information," he said.

Worthley said the superintendent might make a statement at some point, but was not specific.

"We want to keep a low profile," Worthley said.

When asked how he could expect to keep a low profile when one of the school office employees was possibly an accomplice to murder, Worthley said, "Possibly, but possibly not. You're innocent until proven guilty."