- Associated Press - Thursday, December 17, 2015

BRENTWOOD, N.H. (AP) - The handgun used to kill the husband of Pamela Smart in 1990, a key piece of evidence in a lurid case that inspired sensational media coverage, will not be released, a judge ruled.

The .38-caliber revolver was used by then-16-year-old William Flynn to kill Gregory Smart, authorities said. Flynn was accompanied by three teenage friends, including Vance Lattime Jr., who drove the getaway car.

Lattime’s father, Vance Lattime Sr., owned the gun and filed a motion to have it returned.

In a Nov. 23 affidavit, Lattime Sr. said he brought the gun to police in June 1990 after hearing from one of his son’s friends that it might have been used in a crime.

“The police have had my property for over 25 years and now I am asking the court to order that the state of New Hampshire return my property to me,” he said. He did not say what he would do with the gun.

Prosecutors disagreed, saying Smart, who was convicted of being an accomplice to first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole, continues to file appeals.

“The state’s interest here is in preserving the defendant’s conviction to ensure justice for the victim and that if the murder weapon is needed for some kind of hearing or proceeding in the future, it is available for all the parties,” prosecutor Jeffery Strelzin responded.

A judge agreed with the prosecution last week. Lattime’s lawyer said Thursday he hadn’t seen the judge’s order, so it would be premature for him to comment on whether an appeal would be pursued. A message also was left with Lattime Sr.

At trial, Flynn testified that Smart, a media coordinator at his school, told him she needed her husband killed because she feared she would lose everything if they divorced. He said she threatened to break up with him if he didn’t kill him.

Smart has admitted seducing Flynn, but said she didn’t plan her husband’s murder.

All four teens have been paroled.

The trial was a media circus and one of the first high-profile cases about a sexual affair between a school staff member and student. It inspired the Joyce Maynard novel “To Die For,” which in turn was made into a movie starring Nicole Kidman.

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Information from: WMUR-TV, http://wmur.com

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