Hearing Set For Fowler

By Susan Morse

Hampton Union, Friday, June 17, 2005

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

Raymond Fowler

SEABROOK - The legal troubles for Raymond Fowler, who was released from prison on Tuesday, are not yet over.

Fowler, 33, is scheduled for a pretrial hearing in Newburyport (Mass.) District Court on July 18 on a disturbing the peace citation he received last year in Salisbury, Mass., according to a clerk at the court.

Fowler was out on parole, having served 12 years as an accessory in the Pamela Smart murder case, at the time of the June 2004 incident. His parole was revoked.

During arraignment earlier this week, the Newburyport court recommended Fowler plead guilty to the charge, according to Raymond's mother, Paula Fowler of Seabrook. Raymond refused, she said, because similar charges against his brother William were dropped and because he did not have the money to pay the more than $200 fine.

"They wanted him to plead guilty and pay a fine," said Paula Fowler. "He said, 'My brother was with me and his (charge) got dropped.' He requested a trial date. It's not over yet. I said it never ends."

Raymond and his older brother William were cited for a middle-of-the-night visit to Raymond Fowler's ex-girlfriend in Salisbury. Fowler said he went to talk to her after he was told she was doing drugs while pregnant with his child.

"All he's ever dreamed about for 13 years was to get out, settle down and have a family," said Paula Fowler. "He said, 'Ma, I want to invite you over for supper one night.' Everything just got blown out."

Fowler is declining all interviews, said his mother.

On Tuesday, William picked up Raymond Fowler at the Concord prison and took him to his new apartment in Nashua, said Paula Fowler.

Raymond found the small apartment for $700 a month through classified ads, she said.

A condition of his parole is that Fowler not return to Seabrook to live.

Earlier this week, Paula said she and Raymond's grandmother, Phila Sturgis of Seabrook, cleaned the apartment and stocked it with food and supplies. Raymond Fowler.

"It's better than a cell," Paula Fowler said. "The landlord knew the case and gave him a break. It has a small kitchen, all in one, a very small bathroom. It's clean, it's nice."

Sturgis paid the first two months rent, said Paula.

She expects Raymond will get another job in road and bridge work. Before his parole revocation, he was working at a well-paying job in Massachusetts, said Paula.

This is the first time her son has lived on his own, she said. During his first parole, he lived at home in Seabrook or with his girlfriend. Raymond knows no one in Nashua, she said. He has already checked in with his parole officer there.

"He knows he has family," she said on Wednesday. "I went in on Thursday, put stuff away, cleaners - he's a cleaning freak - pans, food in the fridge. He called me at 11 o'clock last night. 'Mom, you brought everything but dish detergent.' I go, 'Oh well.'"

Fowler was 18 in 1990, when he waited in the getaway car while two friends, William Flynn and Patrick Randall, went inside a Derry condominium shared by Pamela and Gregory Smart. Flynn, 16, was having an affair with Pamela Smart, a media coordinator at Winnacunnet High School.

Randall held 24-year-old Gregory Smart down while Flynn shot him. Both are up for parole in 2018.

Another accomplice, Vance "J.R." Lattime Jr., is scheduled for a parole hearing July 14 after a judge granted him a three-year sentence reduction last month. Lattime provided the getaway car and murder weapon.

All three are at Maine State Prison in Warren.

"About J.R., he hasn't said anything," said Paula Fowler. "They haven't written."

Fowler pleaded guilty to murder conspiracy and attempted burglary in the Smart case and was sentenced to 15-30 years in prison. He had said he thought the teens were going go burglarize the home, not kill Smart's husband.

He was in prison from 1992 to 2003, when he was paroled.

Fowler was sent back to prison on the parole violation and a guilty plea to witness tampering in connection to the disturbing the peace incident.

Fowler was sentenced to one to three years on a witness tampering charge; he served the minimum term.

Fowler's parole on that charge is up in 2007; as a condition of his parole, he is to have no contact with his ex-girlfriend or her mother. His parole on the Smart case charges ends in 2013. Officials said Fowler's record of good behavior in prison last year was a factor in his release.

"He had no problems behaving in prison, that's for sure, or else we would not have paroled him," said John Eckert of the state's Parole Board.

Sturgis blamed her grandson's last tangle with the law on bad company.

"He was doing really, really good at the time. He just got mixed up with the wrong person and a very bad probation officer," she said. "He'll be OK this time. He learned a lesson."

Smart is serving life without parole in Bedford, N.Y.

[Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.]