Breaking Silence: Cecelia Pierce Speaks
Cecelia Pierce (now Blake) played a pivotal role in Pamela Smart's conviction. Here, she speaks publicly on the trial for the first time in two decades.
Cecelia Pierce decided when she was 15 that she wanted to become a reporter, so she signed on as an intern with media coordinator Pamela Smart at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton.
Pierce, known now by her married name, Cecelia Blake, hasn’t spoken publicly in two decades about the trial in which Smart was found guilty of orchestrating the murder of her husband, Gregg Smart, though she played a pivotal role in Smart’s conviction.
Now 42 and a registered nurse living in Albany, NH, she says of Smart, “I wish I never met her.”
“I’m sure they are waiting for the governor to change,” Blake says. “When I saw her trying to get her sentence reduced, it makes my blood turn cold.” Blake insists that Smart needs to admit her guilt first.
“If Pam could be 100 percent honest, I myself would recommend to the governor that she shouldn’t be in jail,” says Blake.
Blake says she was initially impressed when Smart befriended her and invited her to the condominium she shared with Gregg, who was rarely home when she visited. Sometimes Smart would cook fajitas.
“We went sledding. She definitely could be fun or charismatic, but I think she had a goal in mind,” Blake says — the murder of her husband. Looking back, she speculates on the motive for the crime: “I believe [Smart] wanted a divorce and said [Gregg] would take the car and the dog and furniture.”
Blake says she recalls hearing Smart talking in her office at School Administrative Unit 90 in Hampton with her lover Billy Flynn and planning Gregg’s murder. She told an adult she knew, but that adult didn’t believe an actual murder was being plotted, which made Blake feel better. But after Flynn and his young accomplices were arrested and Smart was still free, Blake went to police. Though terrified, she says, she agreed to wear a body wire to Smart’s office in Hampton. Smart stood up and hugged her, her arms barely missing the wire, Blake remembers.
“She just really was convinced that no one was going to listen to the boys over an adult,” Blake says.
Blake’s mother and stepfather moved the family to Jefferson City, Missouri, after the trial. Eventually, Blake returned to Seabrook. She says people still believe published reports that she made a lot of money on a movie deal. While she accepted a $10,000 offer, Blake says, “people think I got $120,000.”
Blake is known in the area for her work as a nurse and for her dedication to animal rescue causes (she co-founded the Connect A Pet New England shelter for hard-to-place pets). Few people in her life connect her to the Smart case, and she no longer has any desire to be a reporter.
“One day, I was leaving the courthouse and [reporters and photographers] were chasing me across the lawn. I was just scared,” Blake says. “I just really lost faith in the system. People were reporting whatever they felt like … a lot of people judged the whole case on her looks. ‘[Smart] couldn’t do it. She’s hot.’”
The last time Blake spoke to the media was in an interview with former ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer after Blake moved back to Seabrook and had one toddler in tow.
“I looked like a hillbilly,” she says.