In N.H. trial, townsfolk line up for seats, stay home to see accused teacher on TV

March 22, 1991|By New York Times News Service

EXETER,N.H. — EXETER, N.H. -- Jurors will resume deliberations today in a murder trial that has become New Hampshire's own real-life soap opera, a case in which the prosecution charged that a 23-year-old high schoolteacher got her "hook so deep into the hormones" of one of her students that he killed her husband for her.

The 12-member jury was unable to reach a verdict in the trial of Pamela Smart for the second day yesterday and was sequestered at a hotel near the Rockingham County Court here.

Before starting consideration of the case Wednesday, the jury heard Paul Maggiotto, an assistant state attorney general, urge them to note that during the 12-day trial Mrs. Smart had shown "not one tear of remorse, not one tear of grief" for her husband, Gregory, who was killed last May in the couple's condominium.

Three high school students from the nearby town of Seabrook have already pleaded guilty to shooting Mr. Smart. One of the students, William Flynn, who was 15 at the time, testified that Mrs. Smart had seduced him while they were watching a video of the sexually provocative film "9 1/2 Weeks."

The case has mesmerized many people in New Hampshire, with the trial televised live on WMUR-TV in Manchester.

Joanne Massemo, the owner of a gourmet food shop in this small Colonial town of white-painted clapboard homes, said people have been rushing in at noontime to grab sandwiches during recesses in the trial.

"They say, 'I have to get back to the TV to watch the trial,' " she said.

Interest in the case is so intense that people wanting to see the next day's trial have had to be in line by 2 a.m. to assure themselves of a place.

Young Flynn's testimony about being seduced while watching "9 1/2 Weeks," starring Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke, has also caused a run on the film in local video stores.

In his closing argument, Mr. Maggiotto dismissed as "ridiculous" a claim by Mrs. Smart that the reasons she urged another student, Cecelia Pierce, not to tell the police about her affair with the Flynn youth was that Mrs. Smart wanted to conduct her own investigation of the slaying.

Miss Pierce, who also was 15 at the time, secretly tape-recorded four conversations with Mrs. Smart in which the teacher boasted about committing a "perfect murder" and warned her student not to tell the police what she knew.

Mrs. Smart, a small woman who looks like a teen-ager herself, has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder, being an accomplice to murder and tampering with a witness.

Mrs. Smart's lawyer, Paul Twomey, called the three admitted killers "liars" in his summation and said that "these boys together don't have a shred of moral decency within them."

The Flynn youth, who said he had never had sexual intercourse before he first encountered Mrs. Smart, testified that she had invited him to spend the night at her house in Derry while her 24-year-old husband, an insurance salesman, was on a ski trip.

She rented a video of the movie, the youth testified, and then donned lacy lingerie and re-enacted a scene in which Miss Basinger dances seductively for Mr. Rourke.

He also testified that they made love while playing a music video, "Black and Blue," performed by Mrs. Smart's favorite rock group, Van Halen. Mrs. Smart, a graduate of Florida State University, was a disk jockey for a radio program in Tallahassee, calling herself the "maiden of metal."

Miss Pierce testified that she had once walked in on young Flynn and Mrs. Smart while they were making love. Later, the young woman said, her teacher "sat me down in a chair and told me that she loved Bill."

"I laughed," the young woman said. "It was ridiculous. She was married. She was 22."

A week after that, Miss Pierce testified, Mrs. Smart told her that "she had a choice -- to kill Greg or to get a divorce." But she said she did not want a divorce "because Greg would keep the dog and the furniture and she wouldn't have a place to live."

Unbeknown to Mrs. Smart, Miss Pierce confided her knowledge of her teacher's plans to a friend who worked in the same restaurant. After Mr. Smart was killed, by a single bullet in the head, another schoolmate, Raymond Fowler, boasted about the plot and implicated Miss Pierce. It was then that she consented to wear a concealed microphone.

Young Flynn testified that Mrs. Smart had persuaded him to kill her husband and to get two friends -- Vance Lattime, 18, and Patrick Randall, 17 -- to help him, by threatening to break off their relationship.

"I was afraid if I didn't do it she would leave me," he said.

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