Often overlooked, Fowler caught up in mix

By: Allie Fergione

Posted: 4/20/06

© Copyright 2007, Keene Equinox

For Raymond Fowler May 1, 1990 was supposed to be an easy ride to Misty Morning Drive for some free stuff.

This would not have been Fowler's first endeavor at burglary, if he had actually gone through with it, but plans were twisted and someone was left dead.

Fowler, 18 years old at the time, was out of high school and had a past history of theft cases as well as drug habits. Fowler, the son of a police officer, had a delinquent past filled with drug and drinking habits, as well as stealing. For Fowler, stealing was nothing new.

His mother and two brothers will tell you no different. "He was a mischief kid," said Raymond's mother, Paula Fowler. Growing up, Raymond didn't have many friends and seemed to have trouble making friends; it was not as easy for him as it was for other kids his age. "He didn't make many friends, but when he did he wanted to keep them," said Paula.

They don't try to cover up for Raymond's past or make excuses for it. Not only was Raymond Fowler into drugs, alcohol and stealing in his teenage days, but he was also involved with a girl named Tina who was pregnant with his child. Commenting on his stealing habits as a teenager, "He was a thief," said Paula.

Paula characterized Ray as a "slow learner" and easily influenced while growing up. According to an audio tape obtained by the Equinox of Fowler's initial interrogation, the police allowed his mother to be in the room and in fact asked her if he was able to understand the questions.

Little did Raymond know that May 1, 1990 would change his life, forever. It began as a normal day, similar to any other. A decision to just "go along for the ride" would be one of the most regretted decisions that Fowler would make. In an interview on June 10, 1990 with detectives, Raymond said "Cause I didn't even know what the guys were doing. Man if I knew, I don't think I would have even been there. I think I would have stayed home."

A ride that began from Seabrook, N.H. with Raymond and three other male students from Winnacunnet High School, a high school serving the towns of Hampton, Seabrook, North Hampton and Hampton Falls ended at the apartment complex on Misty Morning Drive. The teenage boys involved were Bill Flynn, Vance Lattime, Jr. Patrick Randall and Raymond.

An execution-style murder with a 38-callibur gun which belonged to Vance Lattime, Jr's (J.R.) father was used to murder Pam Smart's husband, Greg Smart. By approximately 8:30 p.m. Greg Smart was left dead in his own home due to the jealous rage of a teenager's love affair.

The day of the murder, Flynn, Lattime, Randall and Raymond Fowler made a few stops on the way to the Smarts' home. One stop in particular was at a shopping plaza minutes away from Misty Morning Drive. Raymond recalls stopping in there for a slice of pizza while Flynn and Lattime waited outside by the car.

"He was not a perfect person," said Paula.

The ride that would change Fowler's life forever began and ended leaving Raymond confused, and scared for his life. Raymond didn't know anything about the ride to Misty Morning Drive they would be embarking on that evening, or what the teenagers were really up to. Led to believe he would be getting a free stereo, and maybe a few other new possessions, Raymond did not expect the worst. Little did Raymond know that he would be leaving the scene without a stereo and with a prison sentence of almost 15 years.

Minutes later when two of the teens (Flynn and Lattime) fled the murder scene, life changed. They left Gregory Smart laying face down in a puddle of his own blood in the hallway of his home.

Raymond knew nothing about what had just happened, but the story would soon unfold on the drive back to Seabrook. J.R. and Flynn sat in the back of the car (after changing clothes behind one of the buildings in the plaza) talking about how they couldn't believe they just killed a man, saying it over and over. Fowler too scared to turn around didn't move until Flynn asked him if he wanted to touch the gun. "I didn't even touch the gun. I didn't have nothing to do with it. They knew I didn't want to touch it," said Raymond Fowler. The gun was still hot well after the murder and Flynn and J.R. had completed a task that was life altering.

Throughout the drive back to Seabrook, Raymond had figured out what the boys had done, and what had happened inside the house. He was now scared to report the crime to the police, fearing his own life. "I mean if they killed once, I mean they wouldn't think twice about doing it again," Raymond said. Flynn had told Raymond, "don't ever tell anybody" what happened that night.

Throughout the time the four teenagers were friends, there were two attempts to kill Gregory Smart. Not all four guys who were involved in the second attempt had gone along with the one prior to Greg's death. On this first attempt in April 1990, Flynn and Raymond were the only two present. According to Raymond's mother Paula Fowler, Raymond was driving the car that night when he and Flynn went to Derry, N.H.. However, they did not make it all the way to Misty Morning Drive in Derry that day. Raymond Fowler's story states that he was driving and got them lost on the way over to Misty Morning Drive because he was afraid of what Flynn would really do, meaning that he was afraid that he could really hurt Greg Smart.

According to Paula Fowler, Flynn has a different story on that first night to attempt and she feels that Flynn lied on the stand during the trial when questioned about that night. According to Flynn's testimony, he says that he was driving the car that night while Raymond Fowler sat shotgun and they got lost leading them to never make it to Pam and Gregory Smart's home that night.

During the original attempt, Raymond thought that he would be getting some free drugs or money for drugs because he was into that type of lifestyle at that point. Flynn had another motive.

The second attempt came on May 1, 1990. This time, not only were Flynn and Raymond Fowler in the car, but joined them were their friends, Randall and Lattime. This is when Greg Smart's life would come to an end by a single gunshot to the head.

As for all of the legal business that has been lingering around this case for the past 15 years, there are some truths and some false information that has given people reason to believe anything other than the truth.

Proceeding Raymond's arrest on the case of Greg Smart's murder, he was not sent right to prison. Raymond Fowler was out free in the streets for eight months after he turned himself in. During those eight months there was a plea bargain made with the other three young men involved, Flynn, Lattime and Randall. Raymond Fowler was never offered a plea bargain by the state of New Hampshire.

According to Paula Fowler, "I found out Ray was put on Pam's witness list. So I feel that the state had to keep him quiet, and Pam's lawyer couldn't give Ray any bargain only the state can do that."

For whatever reason Raymond was not offered a plea bargain, there is always an opinion. "Ray would have showed the true colors of the boys and how they really were. It wasn't enough they had the three (boys) that really did something, they wanted Pam," said Paula Fowler.

Forgetting the plea deal he was never offered, Raymond soon got offered a deal to never have to go to trial with the three boys. His lawyers presumably thought that this was the best decision for Raymond, but this would be the reason he was going to be sentenced to long prison sentence.

According to many members of Ray Fowler's family he was never allowed to serve or testify on the witness stand in the court of law during this trial because he knew too much information. This would contradict much of the testimony's of the other three teenagers involved in the Greg Smart murder.

Fowler was out of jail and enjoying the "free life" that New Hampshire could finally offer him, until a summer day in June where his intent was to prevent a woman from harming herself and his unborn child. The intent was good, but the result ended poorly because of his past history with the murder case and his previously served time in jail. A woman whom he suspected was pregnant with his child had a past of using drugs, Fowler heard that she might possibly still be using drugs while pregnant and went to her apartment complex, knocked on the door and window then proceeded to let the air out of her car tires so that she would not be able to drive anymore while "under the influence."

This was a violation of his parole and he was charged with disturbing the peace.

According to Raymond's mother, Raymond said, "I could never take a life like that after losing my father."

"I will never know why they didn't want him in the trial," said Paula Fowler. Paula Fowler added that Raymond currently is working a new job and "loves it."

© Copyright 2007 Keene Equinox