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Judge denies early release for gunman in Smart case

Email|Print| Text size + By Kathy McCormack
Associated Press / February 13, 2008

CONCORD, N.H. - The gunman in the Pamela Smart murder case has been denied an early release from prison.

William Flynn, 33, was 16 in 1990 when he shot Smart's husband, Gregory, in the couple's Derry condominium. He said he killed Smart at the behest of Pamela Smart, a media coordinator at Flynn's high school who had seduced him and was threatening to break off their affair if he didn't kill her husband.

At a hearing last month in superior court in Brentwood, he asked to be released from prison.

In an order yesterday, Judge Kenneth McHugh said he had concluded that 18 years in prison for the murder wasn't enough, even though no prisoner's accomplishments "have come close to the successes" achieved by Flynn. After hearing the expressions of hurt and anger from Gregory Smart's family, McHugh said, he suspects that even Flynn, "in the deep recesses of his soul, would agree."

McHugh said that Flynn's rehabilitation is not the issue, but the appropriate amount of prison time he has to serve. He determined that when Flynn has served 25 years in prison he will become eligible for parole once again.

That represented a three-year gain for Flynn, whose original sentence was 40 years to life with the likelihood that 12 years would be suspended if Flynn behaved well. McHugh cut off 15 years conditional on good behavior.

Since entering prison, Flynn has earned a high school equivalency diploma, taken college computer courses, earned an electrician's helper license, and gotten married.

McHugh wrote, "The court hopes to provide a measure of consolation to the Smart family, as well as establishing a date certain for the defendant's release, so that Mr. Flynn can see the light at the end of the tunnel."

Prosecutor Susan Morrell applauded the decision. "We're very pleased," said Morrell, senior assistant attorney general. "I think it was a very well thought out order, carefully reasoned."

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