By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, January 29, 2008
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
William Smart said there isn't a day that goes by that he doesn't think of his son Gregory and while he can accept the apology from the man who killed him, he doesn't want him to get out of prison.
"Your apology was heartfelt and I hope it helps you heal," Smart told a tearful William Flynn. "I want you to know I accept your apology and may God bless you."
Members of the Smart family testified during an emotional two-hour hearing at Rockingham Superior Court on Friday asking the judge not to grant Flynn's request to reduce his 28 years-to-life sentence.
Superior Court Judge Kenneth McHugh took Flynn's request under advisement. Flynn, who was only 15 when he shot and killed Gregory Smart execution style in 1991, took the stand at the hearing not to address the judge but the Smart family. "I want you to know that I'm very sorry," said a sobbing Flynn.
Flynn said he takes full responsibility for his actions but wanted the family to know why he did what he did even though there is no excuse. He told them he was insecure teenager who felt abandoned by his family.
"I just had a general feeling of being worthless and isolated," Flynn said.
All that changed, Flynn said, when he met Pamela Smart, a media coordinator at Winnacunnet High School. Flynn said she gave him the attention he desired, made him feel important and picked him among everyone at the high school to be her lover.
"I would have killed for her and she knew that," Flynn said.
Flynn said when Pamela asked him to murder her husband, he knew it was wrong but didn't want to lose the only person who treated him like he wasn't a piece of garbage.
"She threatened to take away the only thing that was good in my life," Flynn said. "I know none of this excuses what I did. I take full responsibility for my actions. Every day I think about what I've done to you and the people I hurt and I'm terribly and deeply ashamed of myself for being so weak."
Flynn's lawyer Cathy Green argued Flynn is rehabilitated and deserves a chance to live a productive life. Since entering prison, Flynn has earned a General Equivalency Diploma (GED), taken college computer courses and earned an electrician's helper license.
He also got married to the former executive assistant to the superintendent of schools in Wiscasset, Maine, and has a stepdaughter. Flynn's wife, Kelly, was in the audience but didn't speak at the hearing.
The state attorney's office objected to Flynn's request, saying he was rewarded for his cooperation when he accepted a plea bargain for a lesser charge.
Originally charged with first-degree murder, prosecutors dropped it to second degree, which allows him to be eventually paroled, in exchange for his testimony against Pamela Smart.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell said the message to the community needs to be clear. "No matter your age or circumstances, when you commit premeditated, cold blooded murder, you will spend the majority of your life in prison," Morrell said.
She also said Flynn's stepdaughter, who wrote a glowing letter to the judge, apparently changed her mind. In a new letter she said she will not live with her mother if Flynn lives there.
William Smart, wearing the wedding band that belonged to his son, told Flynn if he completes his full sentence he will not object to his request to be paroled in 2018.
"But until then, I will fight you with my last breath and last heartbeat and I am not a well man," Smart said.
But Dean Smart, Gregory's brother, wasn't as forgiving pointing out in Flynn's own letter to the judge asking for the reduction he mentions himself 85 times but only made four references to the man he killed.
He also said Flynn misspelled Gregory's name.
Dean Smart said he had only had one word to say to Flynn about accepting his apology. It was the same word Dean said Flynn told Gregory when he was begging for mercy May 1, 1990.
"Bang! No," said Dean Smart.