The sentence-reduction hearing capped a surprising chapter in New Hampshire's most notorious murder.
Bill Smart accepted the apology from his son's killer and wished him well. But he isn't ready to see Flynn leave prison yet. Flynn, 33, is serving a 28-year-to-life sentence.
"I surely feel very, very good about your apology, and I hope it helps you," Smart said before a packed courtroom in Rockingham County Superior Court. "But 17 years is not going to be enough."
Flynn was 16 when he sneaked into Gregory Smart's Derry condominium May 1, 1990, and shot him in the head while Flynn's friend, Patrick Randall, held a knife to Smart's throat. The execution was orchestrated by Pamela Smart.
Smart and Flynn became lovers when he was a 15-year-old student at Winnacunnet High School, where she worked as a media coordinator. She was 23. Gregory Smart was 24 when he was killed.
Two boys who waited in the getaway car - Vance Lattime and Raymond Fowler - won early releases from state prison in recent years by petitioning a judge.
If Flynn gets out, it could pave the way for Randall to make a similar request.
Flynn said it has taken him years to understand why he went through with the murder. He said he had placed little value on his own life at the time. His father was dead, and his bad behavior often went unchecked by his mother.
Pamela Smart was the first to give him the attention he craved, Flynn said yesterday.
"She was an adult I thought cared about me and nurtured me. I never felt important before," he said. "She was attractive. All the guys were attracted to her at school and, out of everybody, she liked me. She came into my life at a time when I was most vulnerable and filled me with these doubts."
Flynn pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 1991 as part of a plea deal, which required him to be a star witness against Smart. She is serving a life sentence for her husband's murder.
Judge Kenneth McHugh said he needs time to consider what the Smart family said about Flynn's request.
"Whatever I decide, I hope you don't look at it as there's winners and losers," McHugh said. "For everybody who is involved, everybody loses."