OJ Simpson may have had the trial of the century, but it was Pamela Smart who ushered in the era of 24/7 news coverage with her murder trial.
It all began on August 1, 1990, three months after her husband was found dead in their home, and she was arrested for being an accomplice in his murder
In a now-famous recording, the arresting officer said to the widow: ‘Well, Pam, I have some good news and I have some bad news. The good news is that we’ve solved the murder of your husband. The bad news is you’re under arrest.’
She is now reflecting on that period in a new episode of Dateline’s Deadly Secret that will air Monday at 10pm on NBC, and revealing how it felt to be the subject of so much attention during her trial.
‘I was afraid,’ says Smart, who was convicted of being an accomplice to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and witness tampering.
Matricide: Pamela Smart (above on Dateline) will be opening up about her murder trial in a rare interview, speaking to Dateline for an episode that will air Monday at 10pm
Smart has given just a handful of interviews, though in recent years has begun to open up more and more about her husband’s death.
‘You were the biggest show in town,’ points out Andrea Canning in the interview.
‘Maybe in America.’
Smart agrees, while noting ‘at the time’.
Canning then asks: ‘Did you ask yourself why? “Why me? Why does everyone care so much?’
Smart then opens up after a string of one-word answers, describing in detail how it really felt to be the most famous woman in the country.
‘Yes, I did. And it was completely overwhelming. I mean there were cameras from – Japan, from – other countries, and all of the – States,’ she tells Canning.
‘The parking lot was filled with satellite trucks. People were tripping over each other.’
She then talks about how the tiny town was forced to adapt to this influx of media.
‘They built a huge room in the courthouse to accommodate the media. It was just crazy,’ explains Smart.
‘And when I look back at the footage, I – I look like a baby. You know, I look so young. And – and I look – so afraid. And that – that’s exactly how I felt.’
The murder and trial were later the basis for Gus Van Sant’s critically lauded 1995 film To Die For, with Nicole Kidman playing a character inspired by Smart.
Newlyweds: She was arrested exactly three months to the day after her husband was found dead in their home on May 1, 1990 (the Smarts above in 1989)
Witness for the defense: Reflecting on the trial she said that the media attention was overwhelming and even frightening at times (Smart above in 1991 at trial)
Pamela Smart is seen above in her mugshot after her arrest. She is now speaking out from behind bars
Smart is now at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York, where she will spend the rest of her life.
It has now been almost three decades after a jury determined that the former director of media services at Winnacunnet High School in New Hampshire convinced Flynn to pull the trigger.
‘I didn’t want him to. I didn’t ask him to,’ Smart has maintained, uttering those exact words in the few interviews she has done to date.
Her husband’s family have also been repeating themselves for three decades, and stated that hey would consider supporting Smart’s request for parole if she would just admit that she was responsible for ordering the murder.
The murder and trial were later the basis for Gus Van Sant’s critically lauded 1995 film To Die For, with Nicole Kidman (seen above) playing a character inspired by Smart
Matt Dillon and Nicole Kidman are seen above in a scene from To Die For based on Smart’s story
To Die For was released in 1995
On May 1, 1990, Flynn, then 16, and 17-year-old Patrick Randall entered the Smarts’ Derry condominium and forced Gregg, a sales representative for an insurance company, to his knees in the foyer, while another friend waited outside in a getaway car.
As Randall held a knife to the man’s throat, Flynn shot him in the head.
The Smart family appeared at Flynn’s parole hearing, with Gregg’s brother Dean saying; ‘I hope he does something great with his life.’
Both he and brother Rick said they believed Flynn had served his time and should be set free.
Smart on the other hand says she cannot feel remorse as she did nothing wrong.
She has recently started to admit though that her affair played a role in her husband’s murder.