BREAKING: Paul Flores is jailed from 25 years to life without parole for the murder of Kristin Smart in 1996: the judge calls him ‘a cancer to society’
- Kristin Smart, a student at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, disappeared in 1996
- On Friday, a fellow student, Paul Flores, now 46, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for her murder.
Kristin Smart’s killer, Paul Flores, was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Friday, more than 25 years after her murder.
Smart and Flores were students at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo when she disappeared in 1996. The case remained unsolved for decades, but a 2020 true crime podcast rocked local police.
As a result, Flores, now 46, was arrested. Although police never found her remains, they believe Flores raped her in her bedroom and then murdered her.
Judge Jennifer O’Keefe told him: ‘Mr. Flores, you have been a cancer to society.’
Smart’s brother, Matthew, told the court that Flores was “a threat to society.”
“Paul chose to take a life, my sister Kristin’s life, a beautiful life,” she said.
And now you have to pay.
Both he and his father, Ruben, were charged in connection with her death. Prosecutors say Ruben helped his son by hiding Smart’s body under the deck in her backyard for years.
Paul Flores is seen in court in Salinas, California on Friday for his sentencing
Flores is shown in an unrelated arrest photo from 1996, when he was 19 years old. He was convicted in 2022 of Smart’s murder and his sentencing hearing was on Friday.
Flores is seen in court in July 2022 in the Monterey County Courtroom in Salinas
It is suspected that the couple moved his remains once suspicions began to grow in 2020.
Flores was found guilty of murder in October of last year.
The trial was held in Salinas, Monterey County, about 110 miles north of San Luis Obispo, after the defense argued that the high profile of the case prevented Flores and his father from receiving a fair trial in their own right. county.
A jury found Flores guilty of first-degree murder in October. A separate jury acquitted Rubén Flores, 81, of being an accessory.
Freshman Kristin Smart disappeared in 1996 after a college party in California, and the prime suspect was found guilty after a crime podcast helped crack the case.
At the trial of Paul Flores, defense attorney Robert Sanger tried to pin the murder on someone else.
Sanger noted that scott petersonwho was later convicted in a sensational trial of murdering his pregnant wife and the fetus she was carrying, was also a student on campus about 200 miles off the Los Angeles coast.
Sanger filed motions on February 24 in Monterey County Superior Court asking that the charges be dismissed and his client acquitted. A motion also seeks a new trial.
Sanger questioned the forensic evidence offered by the prosecution. She contended that Flores’ right to a fair trial was violated due to prosecution errors and “the admission of junk science into evidence.”
“There’s a reason a case hasn’t been filed against Paul Flores for 25 years,” the motion reads.
“There was no evidence of a murder or that Paul Flores committed it.”
The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office asked the court to deny those requests, arguing that “the allegations of misconduct are baseless and the allegations of judicial error are incorrect.”