Kristin Smart’s accused murderer was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury on Tuesday afternoon. Jurors convicted Paul Flores of murdering 19-year-old Kristin Smart in 1996 and acquitted Flores’ father, Ruben Flores.
Ruben Flores was accused of helping Paul Flores by burying Smart’s body in the backyard of his Arroyo Grande, California home. Jurors found Ruben Flores not guilty.
Kristin Smart was a college freshman when she disappeared on May 25, 1996, from California Polytechnic State University’s campus in San Luis Obispo. According to prosecutors, Paul Flores, a fellow student, murdered Smart as he attempted to ray her in his dorm room.
“Without Kristin, there is no joy or happiness,” her father, Stan, said following the verdicts. “To our Kristin, almost three decades ago, our lives were irreparably changed on the night you disappeared. Know that your spirit lives on in each and every one of us. Not a single day goes by that you are not missed, remembered, loved, and celebrated.”
The Smart family wrote, “We will never be able to hear Kristin’s engaging laughter or revel in her embrace. Her hopes and dreams will never be realized; no form of justice can bring these back.”
Paul Flores, 45, faces 25 years to life in prison. He will remain in an isolated cell at the Monterey County jail until he is sentenced by Judge Jennifer O’Keefe on December 9. “He’s in maximum security because of the nature of the charges,” Monterey County Undersheriff John Thornburg said.