By Susan Morse
The Hampton Union, Tuesday, March 8, 2005
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
SEABROOK - Raymond Fowler, 34, who was paroled two years ago after being convicted as an accessory in the Pamela Smart murder case, will be spending one to three years back in prison after pleading guilty to a witness tampering charge.
Fowler, of 14 Washington St., Seabrook, entered his plea on Friday and was sentenced. He will be credited with 263 days served.
"He just wanted to resolve the matter and put it behind him," said Public Defender Joseph Welsh, who represented Fowler in Rockingham County Superior Court.
Fowler must serve one year and then he will be eligible for parole, Welsh said.
Fowler, who served 12 years on conspiracy to murder and burglary convictions in connection to the murder of Gregory Smart in 1990, has been in prison since June on a parole violation. The parole board was awaiting the outcome of the witness-tampering charge before scheduling a parole violation hearing, according to John Eckert, a spokesman for the board.
A parole violation hearing is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, April 5, Eckert said.
The board may also add prison time for the parole violation.
"They'll figure out what's appropriate," Welsh said.
In Fowler's favor, said Welsh, is that the witness tampering charge does not state Fowler threatened anyone.
Fowler's family is hoping the parole board will credit Raymond with time served, and have him home by the end of the summer, said Raymond's mother, Paula Fowler.
Fowler pleaded guilty so "he can get home sooner," Paula Fowler said. "It's like a blister that keeps coming back. This is way too much for what he did."
Fowler was to have gone to trial on the witness tampering charge on March 14. Instead, he pleaded guilty at his pretrial hearing on March 4, to a charge he attempted to cause a former girlfriend, Trina Small, to withhold testimony about a June 8 incident in Salisbury.
During the night of June 8, Fowler and a brother, William Fowler, went to Salisbury, searching for Small and pounded on a door and window of where she was staying. Both men were charged with disturbing the peace.
William Fowler said the charge against him was dropped while Fowler, who was placed back in state prison on a parole violation because of the disturbing-the-peace charge, was never able to get to court in Newburyport on the summons.
Raymond Fowler was represented in Rockingham County Superior Court by a public defender after the family dropped Raymond lawyer Jorel Booker, who had been representing Fowler, because of financial considerations.