Pam Smart: Death Better than Jail

By Joshua Clark

Hampton Union, Tuesday, October 26, 2010

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

Pamela Ann (nèe Wojas) Smart
during her interview on "The Oprah Winfrey Show".

Pamela Smart, now 20 years into a life sentence for her role in the 1990 murder of her husband, told a national TV audience death would be preferable to spending the rest of her life in prison.

"I think the death penalty's easier than life in prison," Smart said in a pre-taped interview shown on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" Friday. "I fear of being old and dying and getting sick in here, and so to me death would be an easy way out."

The sentence for Smart, 43, calls for no chance of parole. She was interviewed by Lisa Ling at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York. She was convicted in 1991 of being the mastermind behind the deadly shooting of her husband, Gregory Smart.

Pamela Smart emphatically maintained her innocence.

"I never wanted him dead; I never asked anybody to kill him. I didn't suggest it, I didn't plant the idea in anyone's head," she said. "I've spent 20 years in prison for something I didn't even do."

A jury found that Smart enlisted William Flynn of Seabrook to kill her husband in the couple's Derry condominium. Flynn was a 16-year-old student at Winnacunnet High School when he met Smart, who was the school's media coordinator.

The prosecution proved Pamela Smart was having a sexual relationship with Flynn, who executed the murder with the aid of three other Seabrook youths on May 1, 1990.

When asked how she felt upon first hearing she might be charged in connection with the murder, Smart said she "wasn't even really worried about it, because I knew I hadn't done anything, so I was thinking that if they do arrest me they're going to find out I didn't do anything, and then I'm just going to go home."

Smart said the media attention paid to the trial, which was broadcast from start to finish on television, was a "complete circus."

Smart said live television coverage of the entire trial pre-empted the soap operas, "so it was a living soap opera for a lot of people."

"You were painted as this vixen who seduced this teenage boy and was complicit in the murder of the husband," Ling said to Smart. "Once those are in the headlines, how does anyone perceive you as anything but that?"

"They don't," Smart replied.

"What should people take away from your story?" Ling asked.

"I think that it's very dangerous to make choices in your life that you know are wrong and to go with those choices anyway," Smart said.

When asked what she would say to her husband if she had the chance, Smart said she would apologize.

"I'm sorry. I really am sorry. If I hadn't made the choice to get involved with Bill in the first place, I don't think any of this would have ever happened," she said.

During the show, Winfrey interviewed Smart's mother, Linda Wojas, who said, "We've all made mistakes, but she shouldn't be defined by that mistake (having an affair with Flynn) the rest of her life."

One of the jurors who found Smart guilty, Alec Beckett, said it was not the testimony given during the trial, but the recorded phone call in which Smart acknowledged she was aware of the actions taken by the boys, that was the biggest factor in convincing jurors of Smart's involvement in the conspiracy to murder her husband.

"The tapes were very damning," he said.