Judge Kenneth McHugh, in an order released Tuesday, found that 18 years in prison for the murder wasn't enough. McHugh wrote that after hearing the expressions of hurt and anger from the Smart family at Flynn's hearing last month, the court suspects that even Flynn "in the deep recesses of his soul would agree."
McHugh ruled that Flynn could become eligible for parole after he had served 25 years in prison, three years sooner than he would have under the 28 years-to-life prison sentence he is serving. Flynn had asked to be released now because he has spent more than half his life behind bars.
Flynn will have served 25 years in prison on June 4, 2015, when he is 41, according to Susan Morrell, senior assistant attorney general.
McHugh wrote "the court hopes to provide a measure of consolation to the Smart family as well as establishing a date certain for the defendant's release so that Mr. Flynn can see the light at the end of the tunnel."
Flynn's lawyer, Cathy Green, had no comment.
Gregory Smart's brother, Dean Smart, said he was pleased Flynn won't be released this year but thinks it is fair that he may get out after he serves 25 years.
"I'm just looking for resolution, and I thought the judge made a good decision," he said.
He said his father, who has health issues, did not plan to comment Tuesday.
Flynn pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, cooperated with prosecutors and was a key witness against Smart in her sensational trial. The case was the basis for the movie "To Die For," starring Nicole Kidman in 1995.
Smart, who is serving a life sentence, does not deny the affair but maintains she had nothing to do with the murder.
At last month's hearing, Flynn told Gregory Smart's family, "I know that I can never make amends for the pain ... and I promise you I will carry this guilt and remorse with me every day for the rest of my life."
William Smart told Flynn that he would agree to let Flynn out of prison when he's 40, but for now adamantly opposes his release.
Since entering prison, Flynn has earned a GED, taken college computer courses, earned an electrician's helper license and gotten married. His court file contains more than a dozen letters of support from prison employees, friends and people who say they would hire him if he is released.