Pamela Smart, the subject of Investigation Discovery’s upcoming three-part series Pamela Smart: An American Murder Mystery, is currently serving out the rest of her days in prison for orchestrating the 1991 death of her husband, Gregg. Things had, needless to say, started out far more hopeful.
Born Pamela Ann Wojas on August 16, 1967, in Coral Gables, Florida, she met Gregg on New Year’s Eve 1986 in New Hampshire, where she had moved. “The first time I saw Gregg was at a party,” she explains in an exclusive interview from An American Murder Mystery. “He was a friend of one of my friends. Gregg was very handsome, he had big dimples, and he was a very smiley person, always friendly to everyone.”
Pam’s friend, Tracy Paris, adds, “They were fun, they would tease each other, they would laugh and be silly together. They were a good couple. They were well suited to each other.”
In many ways, though, they seemed so different from each other. While Pam was an overachiever, Gregg, says investigative reporter Diane Dimond, “was very outgoing, always a smile on his face, he loved a good party, he was not so interested in going to college. He was never a good student.”
The thing that did draw them together was their obsession with rock music, in particular, heavy metal. In fact, she named both her first car (a Honda CRX) and the Chinese shih tzu given to her by Gregg, Halen, after rocker Eddie Van Halen. It was reportedly Pam’s love of rock music that initially made Gregg so attracted to her. He was a guy who chose not to go to college, but, instead, right from high school, went to work on a heavy-equipment assembly line, driven by a dual love of music and women. He had long hair, oftentimes wore a black leather jacket and had a carefree manner that reminded Pam of Jon Bon Jovi, the rocker who was so enormously popular at the time.
When she graduated from high school, Pam wanted to go back to Florida and planned to enroll at Florida State University in Tallahassee to study broadcasting. They maintained a long-distance relationship. “We would talk on the phone, but it was difficult,” she explains. “But he wanted to move anyway; he was looking for a change in his life, so he moved to Florida.” Which is where he would propose to her.
In Florida, Gregg worked at a landscaping company. Eventually, though, he began to realize that he wanted more out of life and that he wanted to actually build a future rather than drift along. The couple decided to move back to New Hampshire, partially so that Gregg could, once his studies were finished, work at his father’s insurance company.
The choice was actually a little disheartening to Pam in terms of career, but she did her best to offer moral support. On top of all of that — and to look more professional — he actually decided to cut his hair. Although they still had gotten married on May 7, 1989, to Pam, notes the book about the case, Deadly Lessons, “that was a major turning point in their relationship. Instead of Bon Jovi, Gregg, with his shorn locks, looked like just another New England yuppie.”
In New Hampshire, Pam began working as media services director at Winnacunnet High School and also a mentor at a drug counseling program, Project Self-Esteem. Her job, comments eventual prosecutor, then Assistant Attorney General Paul Maggiotto, “was writing press releases, maybe doing short videos, and teaching the kids how to use audio/video equipment.”
It was about this time that the marriage really started to go south. Traveling on business, Gregg reportedly met and slept with another woman for what was a one-night affair. Deciding to confess this to his wife, she never really forgave him for the betrayal, adding to the vast distance she was already feeling.
At the same time, she was finding herself connecting emotionally with 15-year-old William “Billy” Flynn, a student and volunteer at Project Self-Esteem. They had, he would later testify, a mutual love for heavy-metal bands, which led them to work on a project calling for submissions of rock videos talking about the virtues of orange juice.
During all of that — and a period where Pam was supposedly giving divorce serious consideration but feared losing everything, including her dog — they became very close. In February of 1990, their relationship became a sexual one following a video screening of the erotic film 9 1/2 Weeks. Afterward, she donned a sexy negligee, mimicked a strip scene from the movie, and then engaged in sex with the teen.
It was, he would later reveal in the courtroom, following this that she first brought up the idea that the two of them could be together if something could be done about her husband.
On May 1, 1990 — about a week before the one year wedding anniversary of Gregg and Pamela Smart — the deed was done.
The ins and outs of all of this and so much more are revealed in the three-part Pamela Smart: An American Murder Mystery, which debuts on the ID network on Sunday, August 19, at 10 p.m. ET.
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