‘To Die For’ inspiration Pamela Smart will stay in prison after losing final appeal at Supreme Court

Pamela Smart in a 2010 interview from prison (screengrab/WMUR TV)
Pamela Smart in a 2010 interview from prison (screengrab/WMUR TV)

Pamela Smart will not have another chance to have her life sentence commuted, a state Supreme Court ruled.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court denied Smart's appeal on Wednesday. A favourable ruling would have forced a state board to reconsider her argument for early release.

Smart, 55, has already served 30 years of a life-without-parole sentence relating to the murder of her husband in 1990. At the time, Smart was 22 and was working at a school, where she began an affair with a 15-year-old boy.

The teen, William Flynn, shot and killed Smart's husband, Gregory Smart. Prosecutors wrapped Smart up in the crime, convicting her on conspiracy charges relating to the murder plot. She maintains that she was not aware of Flynn's murderous intentions, according to the Associated Press.

Her case was highly publicised and eventually inspired the book and film “To Die For.”

Since her conviction, Smart has exhausted all of her options for judicial review of her sentence. The state board governing sentence reductions has denied her petitions three times, arguing that she had not fully accepted the responsibility for her husband’s death.

Smart’s attorney, Mark Sisti, accused the state’s review board of spending less than three minutes considering her final appeal for early release. Her petition included numerous letters of support from other inmates and prison supervisors.

The state board — a five-member Executive Council — also votes on Governor Chris Sununu’s legislative agenda on top of ruling on petition’s like Smart’s. Laura Lombardi, senior assistant attorney general, argued that the council chose to include the peition on its agenda, but that there were no rules stipulating the degree of consideration the members have to give action items.

The Supreme Court ultimately ruled it did not have jurisdiction to impose procedural standards on a state agency.

"Because imposing procedural rules or standards upon the executive branch in the commutation process would violate the separation of powers doctrine, we dismiss the Rule 11 petition for lack of jurisdiction," NHSC Justice Patrick Donovan wrote in the opinion.

Flynn ultimately worked with prosecutors and avoided a life sentence. He has since been released from prison.