BRENTWOOD, N.H. (AP) – The gunman in the notorious Pamela Smart murder case tearfully apologized to his victim’s family Friday as he asked for early release from prison.

Gregory Smart’s father said he was moved by William Flynn’s words – but not enough to support his release anytime soon.

Flynn, 33, was 16 in 1990, when he shot Pamela Smart’s husband in the couple’s condominium. He said he killed Gregory Smart at the behest of Pamela Smart, a media coordinator at Flynn’s high school who had been carrying on an affair with the teen.


Pamela Smart “was an adult I thought cared about me, paid attention to me,” Flynn said, constantly wiping away tears at Rockingham County Superior Court. “I had never felt important before. Not only was she an adult, she was attractive. All the guys in school were attracted to her.”

Flynn told Gregory Smart’s family, “I know that I can never make amends for the pain … and I promise you I will carry this guilt and remorse with me every day for the rest of my life.”

Gregory Smart’s father thanked Flynn for his apology.

“I accept it and may God bless you,” William Smart said.

William Smart admitted later that Flynn’s tears got to him. He detoured from his prepared speech to tell Flynn that he would agree to let Flynn out of prison when he’s 40, but for now adamantly opposes his release.

Judge Kenneth McHugh did not indicate when he would rule on Flynn’s request.

“I will fight you with my last breath and last heartbeat and I am not a well man,” he said. “At 16 you should’ve known the difference between right and wrong.”

Flynn is serving 28 years to life in prison. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, cooperated with prosecutors and was a key witness against Smart in her sensational trial. The case was the basis for the movie “To Die For,” starring Nicole Kidman in 1995.

Smart, who is serving a life sentence, does not deny the affair but maintains she had nothing to do with the murder.

Flynn isn’t eligible for parole for another 10 years but is asking to be released now that he has spent more than half his life behind bars.

Family objects

The state and Gregory Smart’s family objected. Smart’s brother, Dean, angrily ridiculed Flynn’s written request for early release, noting that Flynn mentioned himself 85 times but made only four references to the man he killed.

He also took issue with Flynn’s assertion that his desire to help others springs from his quest for forgiveness. Flynn has been active in charities and youth outreach programs while incarcerated at the Maine State Prison.

“You think your respect for life and desire to help others comes from Gregg, the man you murdered?” Dean Smart said incredulously. “It’s your desire to get of jail early that drives you to do your charity work. You do your charity for your own pathetic cause. If you truly wanted forgiveness, you would serve your complete sentence as a man of your word.”

Good behavior

Since entering prison, Flynn has earned a GED, taken college computer courses, earned 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.

“This is a man worthy of the court’s mercy,” said Flynn’s lawyer, Cathy Green. “He grew up in prison. He has the strength of character and strong moral fiber to be a contributing member of society.”

Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell, however, said Flynn’s efforts to better himself should not overshadow the brutal nature of his crime.

“The message to the community listening today, as they listened 17 years ago, must 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,” she said.

AP-ES-01-25-08 1640EST

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