By Max Sullivan
Hampton Union, March 13, 2015
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
William "Billy" Flynn, a Seabrook native who at age 16 killed Gregg Smart, is seen in his 1990 trial at left in a Seacoast Media Group file photo and at right during a 2008 parole hearing in an Associated Press file photo.
CONCORD — The man convicted of pulling the trigger and killing Pamela Smart’s husband has been granted parole.
William "Billy" Flynn, a Seabrook native who at age 16 shot Gregg Smart in 1990 at the behest of Smart's wife, Pamela, will be released no sooner than June 4 following a parole board ruling on Thursday, Flynn's 41st birthday.
"It's your birthday, and the good news is we're giving the gift of parole," said Donna Sytek of the parole board, announcing the decision to Flynn.
At the time of the killing, Flynn was a student at Winnacunnet High School, where he met Pamela Smart, who was the school's media coordinator. He will be released three years before what was originally a 28-year sentence.
Flynn spoke on Thursday to the parole board via phone from Maine, where he is part of a work release program.
"I will always feel terrible about what happened 25 years ago," he said. "Nothing I can say will be of comfort, but I hope this will be the last time (Gregg Smart's family) will be publicly reminded of their grief."
Flynn's accomplishments in prison contributed to the decision, Sytek said. While behind bars, Flynn has earned a college degree, become a journeyman electrician and got married. He's also demonstrated he's been able to function in the community during his time in the work release program, she said.
"I have not seen such accomplishments (by inmates)," Sytek said.
Val Fryatt, Gregg's cousin, said she wanted Flynn to fulfill his entire 28-year sentence. There were too many "should have beens," she said.
Fryatt reflected on when Flynn asked for his sentencing to be shortened in 2008. She said his words "moved" her then, "begging for us to understand that he was a changed man," she said.
But she also said that Flynn "did not listen" to Gregg when he "pulled the trigger" as her cousin pleaded for his life 25 years ago.
"You made a deal with the devil," Fryatt said of the murder.
Dean Smart, Gregg's brother, read a letter from his daughter, and did not specify his stance on Flynn's release during his statement, although he did say "I can't change your mind" to the parole board.
"Mr. Flynn is only in this situation because he decided to play God one night," the letter read. "I can somewhat understand that you were a young boy and manipulated by Pam. I struggle with this."
Dean gave his own statement, asking Flynn that he leave New Hampshire for good, and that he do "something great" with his life after prison.
"He could be a mentor," Dean said. "He could do great things. He could redeem himself."
Flynn said he will live in Maine, that he will never again live in New Hampshire and that he will avoid the media at the request of Gregg Smart's family members and the parole board. Leslie Mendenhall of the parole board said Flynn needs to "ignore" interview requests.
"I do feel a sense of responsibility to try to balance the scales that cannot be balanced," Flynn said. "I will try to do something with my life that makes a difference."
Flynn said he's aware his past will haunt him for the rest of his life, especially when he applies for new employment.
"I know that when looking for employment, the first thing they do is Google you," Flynn said. "The first thing people will learn about me is the worst thing I've ever done. It's a challenge I deserve."
Flynn will be one of the last two of Pamela Smart's co-conspirators to be released from prison. He was convicted of second-degree murder in 1991, a reduction from first-degree murder, in exchange for his cooperation with the prosecution of Pamela Smart, who was a media coordinator at WHS at the time of the murder.
Flynn testified in 1991 that he and Pamela Smart had carried on a sexual relationship for several months, and she finally persuaded him to kill her husband by indicating it was the only way the two could be together. Pamela Smart has not denied the sexual relationship but denies involvement with the murder, a stance she has repeated multiple times including during a 2005 interview from prison. She is serving a life sentence and has long advocated for her release. New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan said in 2013 she would not pardon Pamela Smart
Flynn carried out the murder with the aid of three other Seabrook youths, co-defendants Patrick “Pete” Randall, who goes before the parole board on April 9, and Vance “J.R.” Lattime, Jr. and Raymond Fowler, who have been released.
Flynn has been at a minimum security facility in Warren, Maine, since July.