New statement – ​​NBC New York

Pamela Smart, who is serving a life sentence for plotting with her teenage student to have her husband killed in 1990, accepted full responsibility for his death for the first time in a videotaped statement released Tuesday as part of her latest request for a reduced sentence.

Smart, 56, was a 22-year-old media coordinator in high school when she began an affair with a 15-year-old boy who later shot and killed her husband, Gregory Smart. He was released in 2015 after serving a 25-year prison sentence. Although she denied knowledge of the plot, she was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and other crimes and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Smart said in the statement that she “began to dig deeper into her own responsibility” through her experience in a writing group that “encouraged us to move on and go into spaces we didn’t want to be in.”

“For me, that was very difficult, because when I went to those places, in those spaces, I found myself responsible for something that I absolutely did not want to be responsible for: the murder of my husband,” she said, her voice shaking. “I had to acknowledge for the first time in my mind and my own heart how responsible I was, because I had been deflecting blame all the time, I think, almost as if it was a coping mechanism, because I found the truth of being so responsible very difficult.”

She asked for an “honest conversation” with the five-member New Hampshire Executive Council, which approves state contracts and appointees to the courts and government agencies, and with Gov. Chris Sununu. The council rejected her latest request in 2022 and Smart appealed to the state Supreme Court, which rejected her request last year.

Val Fryatt, a cousin of Gregory Smart, told The Associated Press that Smart “danced around it” and accepted full responsibility “without admitting the facts surrounding what made her ‘fully responsible’.”

Fryatt noted that Smart did not mention her cousin’s name in the video, “not even once.”

Messages seeking comment on the petition and statement were sent to council members, Sununu, and the attorney general’s office.

Smart is serving time at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, New York. She earned two master’s degrees behind bars and has also taught fellow inmates, been ordained as a minister and served on a prisoner liaison committee. She said she is remorseful and has been rehabilitated.

The trial was a media circus and one of America’s first high-profile cases involving a sexual affair between a school employee and a student. Joyce Maynard wrote ‘To Die For’ in 1992, based on the Smart case. That inspired a 1995 film of the same name, starring Nicole Kidman and Joaquin Phoenix. The killer, William Flynn, and three other teenagers cooperated with prosecutors. They served shorter sentences and were released.

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