Paul Flores Sentenced to 25 Years to Life in Prison for Murder of Kristin Smart
Above: Paul Flores file photo | SLO County District Attorney’s Office
Paul Flores, convicted in 2021 for the 1996 murder of fellow Cal Poly student Kristin Smart, has reportedly been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
In a press release earlier this month, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office announced the verdict against Flores, now 46.
In 2021, after over two decades of investigation, Flores was identified as the prime suspect in the disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart. On April 13, 2021, Flores was taken into custody in San Pedro, while his father, Ruben Flores, was arrested as an accessory to murder in Arroyo Grande.
Ruben Flores was later found not guilty.
Smart, a 19-year-old freshman at Cal Poly, went missing on May 25, 1996, after attending an off-campus party. The last person to see her alive was Paul Flores, who had walked home with her from the party. She was reported missing by her parents on May 28, 1996.
In 2019, new evidence and a witness came to light, leading to a court order authorizing the interception and monitoring of Paul Flores’ phone and text messages.
Physical evidence recovered during search warrants at the homes of Flores and his family members in 2020 ultimately led to his arrest for the murder of Smart.
The case has brought closure to the Smart family, who have been waiting for answers for 25 years. Smart’s parents, Stan and Denise Smart, released a statement thanking law enforcement for their efforts and expressing their love for their daughter.
“Today, our criminal and victim justice system has finally delivered justice for Kristin Smart, for the Smart family, and for our San Luis Obispo County community,” said District Attorney Dan Dow.
“We thank the Smart family and our community for the tremendous trust and patience they placed in the investigation and prosecution of this terrible crime. We recognize the jury for their focused attention to the evidence and the Sheriff’s Office for their tireless effort in building this case. Today, justice delayed is not justice denied.”