Jim Cole/AP
March 12, 2015 04:20 PM

The man who pulled the trigger in the Pamela Smart case was granted parole on Thursday after 25 years in prison.

William “Billy” Flynn was just 16 years old when he killed Gregg Smart with the help of three friends. Prosecutors say he was seduced and manipulated by Pamela Smart, then 22, into committing the crime that went on to spawn a novel, TV dramatizations and the 1995 movie To Die For, starring Nicole Kidman.

A New Hampshire parole board took just minutes to grant Flynn’s request, the Associated Press reports. Speaking by phone from the Maine prison where he’s being held, he said he would always feel guilty for the killing and “parole will not change that.”

Flynn, who turns 41 on Thursday, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 28 years to life in prison, while Smart, now 47, was convicted of conspiring to kill her husband and sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.

Pamela Smart testifying in 1991
Jim Cole/AP

Smart, a onetime media coordinator at Flynn’s high school, admits to the affair with the student, but she maintains her innocence when it comes to her husband’s killing.

“I was in a situation where I knew better,” she told PEOPLE last year of her romance with the then 16-year-old. “And I shouldn’t have made the decision that I did to be involved with him. It took me many years to see my own responsibility.”

Flynn is the third person associated with the case to be released from prison. Two other young men convicted in connection with the crime – Vance Lattime and Raymond Fowler – were released in 2005. A fourth, Patrick Randall, is up for parole this year.

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