30 Years Later: Revisiting The Pamela Smart Murder Case
It seems hard to believe that three decades have now passed since Pamela Smart was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole. Here are my memories of being a NH high school senior at the time and details of this case that I'd forgotten.
The media frenzy that this case caused is still unprecedented from a NH perspective and was only rivaled by the OJ Simpson Murder case and trial that would happen a few years later.
As for me, a high school senior at the time, my exact demographic was represented by the four teens who were on center stage for committing this horrible crime. They looked just like every kid walking the halls of Spaulding High School. Only separated by a year in age and about 30 miles.
My Nana and Gramp had the perfect system for watching the entire trial as it was unfolding live everyday on WMUR-TV. My Nan would watch it live in the den on the small TV until Gramp got home, then they'd watch it live until the day's proceedings would conclude.
They set up the VCR to tape for HOURS so it would catch what they missed that morning and fast forward through the lunch breaks.
The thing I didn't realize until watching Investigation Discovery's 2018 documentary about the case, is that the jury wasn't sequestered. They would go home every night and could have watched just as much news coverage as my Grandparents did!
As the jury deliberated for a couple days the time DRAGGED on forever and I remember most of my friends and family thought that was an indication that Pamela Smart would be acquitted.
On that Friday, March 22nd, 1991, word quickly passed throughout my high school that she was sentenced as guilty on all three counts.
I remember as clear as crystal that EVERYBODY was talking about the verdict that entire weekend. Nonstop. At the grocery store, the restaurant I went to, and at a family function I attended that Sunday.
Decades before any social media platforms, this story dominated all social communication.
Court TV was launched only 3 months later and there's no doubt this case was why.
Cable channels now dedicate marathon weekends of shows that delve into cases quite similar to this one.
But there will never be another case quite like this one, that much is true.