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Sentence cut for driver in Smart case

CONCORD, N.H. -- Vance Lattime Jr., the getaway driver in New Hampshire's notorious Pamela Smart murder case, was granted a three-year sentence reduction yesterday. He becomes eligible immediately for parole, but first must appear before the state parole board.

Lattime was 17 in 1990 when he agreed to help Smart murder her husband, Gregory Smart. Lattime, known as J.R., supplied the getaway car, his grandmother's vehicle, and the murder weapon from his father's gun collection. His friend William Flynn,who at 15 became Pamela Smart's lover, shot Gregory Smart, 24, in the head while another friend, Patrick Randall, held him down.

Now 32, Lattime has served 15 years of an 18-years-to-life sentence for being an accomplice to second-degree murder.

In papers granting the sentence reduction, Rockingham County Superior Court Judge Kenneth McHugh wrote that Lattime's good record of behavior in Maine State Prison in Warren contributed to his decision.

''The defendant's progress in prison has been nothing short of remarkable," he wrote.

Gregory Smart's father, Bill Smart, said he was disappointed with the judge's decision.

''Mr. Lattime agreed to a plea bargain from 30 to 18 years for his cooperation to testify against Pam," he told WMUR-TV. ''He accepted his responsibility for his part in the crime. However, he never fully understands the damage he has caused all the families involved.

''I feel 18 years is a reasonable time," Smart said.

Calls to Lattime's parents and the attorney general's office were not immediately returned.

Flynn and Randall remain in prison in Maine and are eligible for parole in 2018. Raymond Fowler, who waited in the getaway car, is out on parole.

Pamela Smart, now 37, is serving life without parole in a New York State prison after exhausting her appeals.

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