My Evening with the Friends of Pam Smart
A journalist looks back on his time reporting on the Pam Smart case
I used to report Pinkerton Academy football and basketball games on the Derry radio station, WDER. There was a pretty Pinkerton cheerleader named Pamela Wojas. She married after college and soon became infamous as Pamela Smart, the “Ice Queen,” who had her young husband murdered by a group of high school kids.
I was writing for Nashua Magazine back in the early 1990s and sought an interview with Linda Wojas, Smart’s mother. The murder was on everyone’s mind back then, and people split into camps, each convinced of her guilt or innocence. I met Wojas among the latter at a “Friends of Pam Smart” meeting on a Friday evening at the Castleton in Windham. The meeting was like a wedding reception in many ways — the food, the folks, many who didn’t know each other, at tables in a big room. I remember standing and holding hands with my tablemates as the Eric Clapton song “Tears in Heaven” was played by the DJ. When I went to Wojas’ house for the interview, the living room floor and couch were filled with literally hundreds of letters from all over the country. Sitting atop the letters was Pam’s dog, Halen. The dog had become famous when it was reported that Pam had asked the boys engaged in Gregg Smart’s murder to be sure the dog was out of the room so as not to be traumatized.
Wojas was gracious and truly believed in her daughter’s innocence. She shared a story with me of when President George H.W. Bush came to Pinkerton Academy on a Saturday night during the presidential campaign between him and Bill Clinton. It was cold and pouring rain on that October evening as she walked around the campus carrying a sign. The president was in the gymnasium speaking as she walked by a row of parked cars. The window on one of the cars lowered and the man inside the car invited her to come in and get warm. She accepted, and the man asked her about what she was doing. She told him about her daughter and her innocence. When she finished, she asked the man if he knew the president. He said he did and would see that the president heard about her efforts. She thanked him and asked his name. He replied, “I am Marlin Fitzwater, the president’s press secretary. I only hope that, if any of my children ever get into trouble, that I can be as good a parent as you are.”
I don’t know if Pam Smart was the mastermind of her husband’s murder, but I believe that there are some legitimate questions that remain about the case:
1. If she would admit her involvement and express her remorse, then her chances of getting a pardon from a governor would be greatly enhanced. So why continue to maintain her innocence?
2. The boys committed a terrible crime, yet they are now out of jail. Why is she, who was at a meeting during the murder, sentenced to be incarcerated until she dies?
3. What motive did she have to want her husband killed? They had no children, house or much money at the time. If she was unhappy in her marriage, she could have just left.
4. Is it possible that she tried to end the relationship with Billy Flynn and told him something like, “I really care for you, and if I didn’t have a husband I would stay with you.” If she said something like that, then could Billy and his friends have taken that as a call to murder Gregg?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but do believe that they are worth considering. The Pam Smart case was and remains one of controversy. It’s worth a second look.