“You killed someone . . .”

Pamela Smart

“. . .in cold blood. I don’t know how you can make excuses.  I really pity you.  I believe you are a good person but I can’t help thinking about the life you took.”

Yikes!  ME? This comment was directed to my post about the Pamela Smart murder case so I guess the writer was talking to her.  My post was printed in December, 2007 but this reader just commented today.  While everyone was screaming for Pamela’s blood, I saw her human side.  I talked to the editor of the New Hampshire (where she was tried) Union Leader and wrote the following editorial which appeared on its front page.

It didn’t do any good.  Smart lost her appeal and was sentenced to ‘life without the possibility of parole.’ She was sent to Bedford Hills prison where she remains today.

Guest Editorial by FRANK PAOLO- N.H.Union Leader-July, 2005

I’ve never met Pamela Smart. I read a book about her crime many years ago but forgot the title. I haven’t seen the Hollywood film nor the television movie about the murder in which she was involved. All I remember is Ms. Smart was a 21-year old school audio-video specialist who had an affair with a 15-year old male student. Incredibly, these two cooked up a plan to kill her husband who was unfaithful to her. This dumb idea landed the boy, the triggerman, in prison for 40 years. Since Smart did not believe she was guilty, she refused to cop a plea, was found guilty, and received a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

I remember thinking her sentence a little harsh (even Charles Manson has the possibility of parole) but I really forgot about the whole thing for over a decade.

Then, a few months ago, a 21-year old woman friend was released from prison for crimes related to her heroin addiction. She immediately started getting high again. Despite being given many chances by the courts, she just shrugged her shoulders and acted the way 21-year olds often act: arrogant, invincible, and stupid. No one could reach her. No court, no program, no “adult”- seemed to be able to shake her and say, “Hey! You can’t seem to grasp this now – but the decisions you make today could ruin the rest of your life. THINK!”

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One Response to ““You killed someone . . .””

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