Fowler To Be Arraigned On Witness Tampering

By Susan Morse

The Hampton Union, Tuesday, September 28, 2004

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

SEABROOK - Raymond Fowler is scheduled to be arraigned in Rockingham County Superior Court at 9 a.m. on Wednesday on a felony charge of witness tampering, but his family is still disputing his role in the Pamela Smart murder case.

Fowler, who turned 33 on Monday, is back in prison on a parole violation after having served 12 years on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and attempted burglary in the 1990 murder of Smart's husband, Gregory.

Bill Flynn, then 15, of Seabrook, was convicted of pulling the trigger in Smart's condominium the night her husband was killed. Flynn and his former friends Vance "JR" Lattime and Patrick Randall are still serving time for the murder.

Smart, then a 22-year-old media coordinator at Winnacunnet High School who was having an affair with Flynn, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Fowler currently is being held on a charge of witness tampering in a case unrelated to Pamela Smart. But his mother, Paula Fowler of Seabrook, said he's really being prosecuted for going along for a ride the night Gregory Smart was murdered.

"He's on trial for this," said Paula Fowler, "but it stems back (to the fact that) he was there to begin with."

Fowler was the only one of the four boys who did not testify during the Smart trial.

His family members want Raymond's side of the story to be known, they say, because many people, including those who have the power to put him back in prison for the remainder of his sentence, have misconceptions about his role in the murder.

People think Fowler got the murder weapon, cleaned it or drove the car, said Paula Fowler. All those assumptions are false, she said. People often confuse Fowler with one of the other boys, she explained.

During Fowler's parole hearing this summer, parole officer Robert Meegan testified against releasing Fowler, saying the last time Fowler was in crisis "we had a dead body."

Speaking from prison on Friday, Fowler said he asked Meegan at a later hearing why he called him a murderer.

"I asked him, 'Why did you call me that?' " Fowler said.

"'Because you got him the gun, right?'" Fowler said was Meegan's reply.

"'Vance Lattime got him the gun,'" Fowler said he told the parole officer. "He says, 'Well, whatever ....' Obviously he's showing he doesn't know who I am."

This week Raymond's older brother, Robert Fowler, 38, is posting transcripts from the Smart trial on the Web site, using testimony from Flynn, Lattime and Randall to dispel the assumptions. All three boys testified that Fowler was along for the ride "to steal stuff," Robert said.

Along with the transcripts, Robert Fowler is also posting video from the trial. Paula Fowler has boxes of transcripts and video she obtained from Fowler's attorney at the time of the Smart trial.

"I have the whole case in my bedroom," she said. "I have the whole testimony from the trial."

There is also some court testimony the family wants to rebut.

"Raymond's whole point of view has not been said yet," said Robert Fowler.

For instance, the brother said, on a trial run to Derry a month before the murder, Fowler was driving and only Bill Flynn was in the car.

"On the way, Bill discusses the fact 'we have to kill Greg,' " Robert Fowler said. "Raymond said, 'I don't want to do that, Bill; I'm not going there if you're going to do that.' That's why Ray got them lost.

"There was a discrepancy" during the trial, said Robert, explaining that Bill Flynn testified that he got the pair lost because he was afraid Raymond would go through with the murder.

On the second trip, Robert said, Bill Flynn did not want to take Raymond Fowler.

What has opened up the long-stored transcript boxes is Fowler's parole revocation by Robert Meegan.

"What his parole officer has done has opened up a can of worms," said Robert Fowler. "We have a lot of questions as to who did what in that house."

The family members are still keeping silent on what they think happened that night in Derry.

The witness-tampering charge Fowler will face at his arraignment Wednesday is for actions that allegedly took place early in the morning on June 8 in Salisbury, Mass.

Fowler and another brother, William, 35, had gone looking for Fowler's then-girlfriend, Trina Small, who Fowler believed was pregnant with his child and possibly doing drugs.

Fowler admits to knocking on a door and a window at Small's residence and letting air out of a tire on her car to prevent her from driving. Small was in the apartment with another man.

At the time, Salisbury police cited both of the brothers on a charge of disturbing the peace and told them they would receive a summons in the mail. The brothers received the summons just three weeks ago, the family said.

The witness-tampering charge by Seabrook police stems from a conversation Raymond Fowler allegedly had with Candace Dow, Small's mother, later in the morning of June 8, following the Salisbury incident.

Fowler is alleged to have told Dow, according to court documents, "that Trina drop everything at the Salisbury police station, and that if he has to go back to jail that they will all be sorry."

The family has a notarized affidavit from Small, signed July 22, in which she recanted her statements.

"It was not Raymond who made all of the noise that night. It was someone that came to the house prior to Raymond," Small said in her statement. "I know Raymond only came there out of concern for me. He would never harm me or anyone else."

William Fowler is scheduled to appear in Newburyport (Mass.) District Court on Oct. 8 on the disturbing the peace charge, said Paula Fowler.

Even if Raymond Fowler is found not guilty of witness tampering, he can still be held in prison for the parole violation.

"He's grown up in prison," said Paula Fowler. "He's lived most of his life right there, where they've got him."