Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Sex, Lies & Murder: The Pamela Smart Case

Misty Morning Drive

Tuesday, May 1st, 1990

8:30 p.m.

The body of Greg Smart (POLICE)
The body of Greg Smart
(POLICE)

The young man lay facedown in a pool of blood in a dark hallway of a quiet condominium on Misty Morning Drive in Derry, New Hampshire. Killed execution-style, death was instantaneous for Gregory Smart. Outfitted in a gray sports coat and dress pants, most of his body lay on the blue wall-to-wall carpet of the dining area, his right arm contorted, while his splayed feet and ankles rested on the foyer floor. His left foot was twisted against the stairwell wall and a brass candlestick. A 38-caliber hollow-point slug, lodged in his skull, had torn into his head just above the left ear, toppling him to the carpet. Underneath his body was his diamond-studded wedding ring, along with his keys and billfold. Two stereo speakers and a small television had been left uncharacteristically near the back door.

Meanwhile as a shaggy little dog cowered in the shadows downstairs, 24-year-old Gregory lay in the dark ransacked condo for several hours before his bride walked through the door.

10:10 p.m.

A pair of headlights lit up the kitchen window of unit 4E of the cul-de-sac Misty Morning Drive on that balmy May Day evening. As Pamela Smart pulled up her silver 1987 Honda CRX towards the Summerhill Condominiums, she noticed that the house was dark. Greg routinely turned on the porch light when he got home first so that she would not have to walk in the darkness.

Pam parked in the garage, got out of the car, walked past Greg's 1989 Toyota pickup in front of the condo, making her way to the end unit that the couple rented. She climbed the few steps of the front porch, unlocked the door, stepping inside as she switched on the foyer light.

Pamela Smart
Pamela Smart
"This all happened in a matter of not even a second, I think," the petite, 22-year-old would recall. "I remember seeing him and the candlestick and the pillow."

Pam shrieked, "Help! My husband! My husband!" She ran to nearby condo unit 4D, and then to 4C, pounding on the doors and ringing the doorbells, screaming hysterically. One of the neighbors, wary from all the commotion, literally pulled Pamela in through her front door in case somebody was behind her.

"My husband's hurt! He's on the floor!" shouted Pam. "I don't know what's wrong with him!" During the confusion, at some point Pamela also uttered, "Why do they keep doing this?"

By now a half-dozen neighbors had come out onto their stoops to find out what was happening. At least two of the neighbors had dialed 911, dispatching units to the condo. A few of them stepped forward to see if they could help.

One neighbor, Art Hughes, had been watching thirtysomething on television when he heard a woman's screams. Stephen Sawicki, in Teach Me To Kill, relates what happened next: Art felt certain that her husband had been beating her.

"What's wrong?" Hughes yelled. "What's the problem?"

"My husband's on the floor!"

"What's wrong with him?" Hughes shouted back. "Where is he?"

Pam pointed toward her unit and Hughes, in his bedtime T-shirt and sweatpants, frantically ran out in front of unit 4E, looking into parked cars and all over the parking lot and lawn.

"Where the f*** is he?" He shouted in despair.

"Inside!" Pam yelled from the [neighbor's] stoop. "He's inside!"

Hughes bolted up the steps and went to open the storm door when he heard Pam again.

"Don't go in there!" She said. "There may still be somebody in there!"

Hughes crouched slightly, pulled back the storm door, and pushed open the front door. He didn't realize that another neighbor was right behind.

The foyer light was on, but the rest of the place was in darkness. As the door opened the first thing they saw, ten feet away, was a brass candlestick, the light playing off it. Then a foot. The door fully opened, and the two men surged forward—over the floor mat depicting two cartoon ducks and past a maroon portfolio left carelessly near the entrance—and beheld the facedown body of a man.

 

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