CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Raymond Fowler must convince a parole board that the decade he has spent as a well-behaved prison inmate in one of New Hampshire’s most notorious murder cases has made him ready for release.
Fowler, one of four high school pupils convicted in the Pamela Smart murder case in 1992 could be released in January if the parole board agrees.
Fowler was an 18-year-old living in Seabrook in 1990, when, prosecutors said, he waited in a car while his 15-year-old friend William Flynn executed insurance salesman Gregory Smart in the Derry condominium he shared with his wife, Pamela.
Flynn had been having an affair with Pamela, then a 22-year-old media coordinator at Winnacunnet High School.
Fowler, Flynn and fellow Winnacunnet pupils Patrick Randall and Vance Lattime received reduced sentences in exchange for testifying against Smart, who was convicted for engineering her husband’s death because she feared she would lose everyting in a divorce. She was sentenced to life without parole.
Flynn and Randall were sentenced to 28 years to life. Lattime got 18 years to life.
Fowler is the first to come up for possible parole. He was convicted on burglary and conspiracy to murder charges and given 7 1/2 to 15 years sentences for each, to be served consecutively.
Fowler could have been paroled as early as 1998, said John Eckert, executive assistant for the parole board.
"The state objected primarily because of the crime itself and of his participation in it. Their objection was grounded on the punishment component of the sentencing," Eckert said.
Eckert said Fowler has been well behaved in prison.
"He participated in educational and vocational programs, computer courses, several alternatives-to-violence programs and a substance abuse class and he earned his GED."
If released, Fowler would be on parole until 2013.
Eckert said one person, a member of Fowler’s family, has signed up to testify at the hearing Tuesday.
Fowler has insisted his role was minor, that he believed the teens went to the condominium to burglarize it, not to kill his pal’s paramour.
In an interview several years ago, Fowler said he was shaken when Flynn started talking about how he had shot the victim in the head.
Fowler said he pleaded guilty and took a 15- to 30-year sentence rather than risk spending his life in prison.
"I’d rather take the top number," he said. "At least I know they can’t hold me forever.