By Patrick Cronin
Portsmouth Herald, February 13, 2008
[The following article is courtesy of Portsmouth Herald and Seacoast Online.]
BRENTWOOD — The trigger man who murdered Gregory Smart 18 years ago will have to spend at least another seven years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
Rockingham Superior Court Judge Kenneth McHugh on Tuesday rejected William Flynn's bid to be eligible for parole right now, stating that "18 years in prison for the murder isn't enough."
The state and the Smart family vehemently opposed Flynn's bid to suspend his minimum 28-year sentence during a hearing on Jan. 25.
"After seeing and hearing the expressions of hurt and anger from the Smart family at the hearing, the court suspects even Mr. Flynn in the deep recesses of his soul would agree," McHugh wrote.
But McHugh in his eight-page ruling did show Flynn a "light at the end of the tunnel" by knocking three years off his minimum sentence in recognition of his rehabilitative efforts.
Since entering prison, Flynn has earned a GED and an electrician's helper license, and gotten married.
His court file contains more than a dozen letters of support from prison employees, friends and people who say they would hire him if he is released.
McHugh said while the court could have taken the "safe path" and denied the motion in its entirety, he didn't want to put the Smart family through the extreme emotional trauma if a similar motion was filed in the future.
McHugh said that Flynn's rehabilitation is not the issue, but the appropriate amount of prison time he has to serve.
Flynn, now 33, was 16 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder after shooting Gregory Smart in the back of the head execution style at his Derry home in 1990.
At the time, Flynn confessed he was having an affair with Pamela Smart, who was 22 at the time, and that she persuaded him to murder her husband so they could be together.
Flynn met Pamela Smart at Winnacunnet High School; he was a student and she worked as the school's media services director. Pamela Smart, who is serving a life sentence for being the mastermind of her husband's murder, to this day denies having any role in it.
William Smart, the father of Greg Smart, did not want to comment on the judge's ruling.
At the hearing last month, William Smart accepted Flynn's tearful apology for murdering his son, but said he was opposed to him getting out of jail now.
Smart told Flynn at the hearing that if he stays in prison until he is at least 40, he would not object to his request to be paroled.
"But until then, I will fight you with my last breath and last heartbeat, and I am not a well man," Smart said.
McHugh appeared to accept Smart's wishes in his ruling because Flynn will be 40 when he will be eligible for parole.
"Because no portion of the defendant's maximum sentence is being suspended, when released Mr. Flynn will be on parole for the rest of his life," McHugh wrote. "Given his successes in prison, the court has no doubt that he will become a valuable member of society when his incarceration ends."
Gregory Smart's brother, Dean, said he was pleased Flynn won't be released this year but thinks it is fair that he may get out after he serves 25 years.
"I'm just looking for resolution, and I thought the judge made a good decision," he said.
Cathy Green, Flynn's attorney, declined comment on the ruling, but senior assistant attorney Susan Morrell praised the decision.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.