For first time, Pamela Smart accepts responsibility for her husband’s death in 1990

Pamela Smart, in a video statement Tuesday, took responsibility for her husband’s death in 1990 in Derry, New Hampshire.

Pamela Smart, in a video statement Tuesday, took responsibility for her husband’s death in 1990 in Derry, New Hampshire.

The video statement was part of a sentence reduction request, The Associated Press reported.

Smart, now 56, was 22 years old and working as a high school media coordinator when she reportedly had an affair with a 15-year-old boy, CBS News reported. That 15-year-old shot her husband, Gregory Smart, to death. The shooter was released from jail in 2015 after he served a 25-year sentence.

Smart was convicted of being an accomplice to first-degree murder and other charges, the AP reported. She was sentenced to life in prison without parole. She has been in jail for around 34 years.

“For me, that was really hard, because going into those places, in those spaces is where I found myself responsible for something I desperately didn’t want to be responsible for, my husband’s murder,” she said, according to the AP. “I had to acknowledge for the first time in my own mind and my own heart how responsible I was, because I had deflected blame all the time, I think, almost as if it was a coping mechanism, because the truth of being so responsible was very difficult for me.”

“Now that I am older and able to look back on things, I can see so many errors that I made, and see how skewed my judgement was, and how immature I was,” she said, according to CBS News.

“Looking backward, you know, I’m such a different person than I was ... back then,” she said. “I mean, 34 years is a very long time, and during that time I’ve done a lot of work on myself.”

Since being behind bars, Smart has earned two master’s degrees, tutored other inmates, became an ordained minister and became a member of the inmate liaison committee, CBS News reported.

Her trial was one of the first high-profile cases involving an affair between a staff member at a school and a student, CBS News reported.

The case inspired a movie in 1995 called “To Die For,” which starred Nicole Kidman and Joaquin Phoenix. Before that, Joyce Maynard wrote about the case in 1992, CBS News reported.

“I made excuses, dismissed my own involvement, and blamed everyone else but myself,” Smart wrote in her letter to Gov. Chris Sununu. “I am the one to blame for his absence from this world,” she added, according to the AP.

“New Hampshire’s process for commutation or pardon requests is fair and thorough,” Sununu’s office said in a statement obtained by the AP. “Pamela Smart will be given the same opportunity to petition the Council for a hearing as any other individual.”

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