Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Sex, Lies & Murder: The Pamela Smart Case

Ambush

May 1st, 1990

The last day of Gregory Smart's life began like any other workday. It was a foggy morning at 4E Misty Morning Drive with the promise of rain in the air. Up early, Greg and Pam took care of their routine of showers, hot coffees, and exchange of pleasantries. Their puppy, Halen, also had to be tended to before they went to work. While Greg would have gone about his business like any other workday, nothing really pressing on his mind, Pam was fully aware that the murderous plan would unfold that evening.

Pam usually headed out the door first, but that Tuesday morning Greg was the first to leave for work. Later than usual, at about 9:45 a.m., Pam drove her Honda CRX with a New Hampshire vanity plate HALEN, another tribute to her favorite rock band, her dog, and to her job in coastal Hampton. She had planned on coming home later than usual that evening, well after dark. The meeting with the school board would go late because they were having a salary review and a discussion regarding a media class that she was interested in teaching in the fall. She would not arrive home until well after Greg was dead.

Pam dropped by Billy Flynn's high school locker that day to let him know that the bulkhead doors were left open. All was set, ready to go. That day she even wore all her gold chains and a ring on every finger, so that she would not lose her favorite pieces of jewelry that evening.

By about 2:30 p.m., Bill called Pam to let her know that there was a snag in the plan, that they needed a ride to go pick up the getaway car, J.R.'s grandmother's 1978 Chevrolet yellow Impala. Pam agreed to go over in a little while.

Before 8:30 p.m.

According to plan, while Lattime and Fowler were killing time at the plaza, Flynn and Randall entered the condominium. Sawicki pieced together what happened next: "Number one on their list was the dog. The boys went upstairs, but when Billy stooped to pick up Halen, the Shih-Tzu began to bark and growl and scampered away. Flynn chased the dog around the couch before he finally got his hands on it. The boys would later laugh that they threw the animal into the basement and heard the thump-thump-thump as it tumbled down the stairs."

They ransacked the house, busying themselves taking jewelry and other items, including dissembling equipment on the entertainment center. They left a small pair of stereo speakers by the door, intending to take them when they left.

Then the two lanky teenagers waited in the dark for Greg Smart to come home. Bill had tried to kill Greg Smart before and Pamela had made it very clear that this time it better go down without a hitch.

 "Where the hell is he?" Pete whispered.

"I don't know," Bill muttered, "but I wish to hell he'd hurry up."

He did a quick little jig, rearranging the unfamiliar and uncomfortable object he had stuck in his waistband: a snub-nosed revolver that another friend, J.R., had sneaked out of his father's gun collection.

"Tell me again how we're going to handle this," demanded Pete.

"You're going to get behind the door and I'm going to get on the stairs where he can't see me. Then when he opens the door you're going to pull him inside and we'll both jump him. Then you're going to cut his throat."

"Right," Pete replied, changing his grip on the long-handled knife he had picked up as they'd walked through the kitchen a few minutes earlier. At some point they discussed using a brass candlestick to hit Greg; that was then discarded on the foyer floor.

Everything was ready: a ransacked house, dark shapes on the floor near the back door and a black pillowcase that contained CDs and costume jewelry. As if on cue, powerful headlights lit up the kitchen window as an engine pulled up to the condo. In their excitement of the moment, they reversed their agreed upon places: Bill ended up behind the door while Pete stood on the stairs.

It was only a few moments before silence enveloped the condo as the Toyota's rumbling stopped. Then, all was dark as the pickup's lights were extinguished. Several minutes later, Greg turned the key in the lock. The door opened. Greg flipped on the light while calling out to the puppy, "Halen!"

Billy leaped out, ambushing Greg as he came in the door, grabbing the shoulders of his coat. In the next few minutes, Greg was overpowered by the two youths. At some point Greg handed over his billfold and when Pete told Greg to give them the wedding band on his left hand, Greg said, "No! I can't do that. My wife would kill me!"

The final words were Billy saying, "God forgive me!" as he squeezed the trigger only inches from Greg's head. The shot rang out and Greg toppled over.

Flynn and Randall ran out of the condo, back to the getaway car where Lattime and Fowler waited, eventually making their way back home. Pam would later tell Billy that while driving to Hampton, she had actually seen their car on the road and had flicked her lights at them in greeting.

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