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N.H. Executive Council Denies Pamela Smart Hearing on Request for Reduced Sentence

Jack Rodolico / NHPR
Pamela Smart, shown here in an interview with NHPR's Lauren Chooljian at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility.

New Hampshire's Executive Council has denied Pamela Smart's request for a hearing to reduce her life sentence.

Smart was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in the 1990 murder of her husband, Gregg. Now 51, she submitted a lengthy petition to Gov. Chris Sununu and the Executive Council with the most recent request for commutation and a chance of parole.

Sununu said he appreciated the council's "diligence in taking up this request and firmly agree with their decision to deny a hearing for Pam Smart."

It was an emotional scene outside the council chambers after the denial, as Pamela Smart's mother, Linda Wojas, confronted Associate Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin.

Smart and her supporters hoped a phonebook-thick petition arguing in support of commuting her sentence might sway the council.

But the governor and council denied her a hearing after minimal debate. Democratic Councilor Andru Volinsky was the only councilor to address the merits of Smart's request. He pointed to one sentence from Smart's personal statement, where she claimed to have "never wanted or asked" William Flynn, her then teen-age lover, to kill her husband, Gregg.

"I think that sentence is at great odds with the evidence in this csae and causes me concern," Volinsky said.

After the vote, Smart's mother, Linda Wojas, said her daughter has been the victim of politics. 

(This post was updated Wednesday afternoon with additional reporting.)

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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