Paul Flores (44) has been convicted by jury of the 1996 first-degree murder of 19-year-old Kristin Smart
Author: District Attorney
10/18/2022 3:29:11 PM
After a three-month trial, a Monterey County jury has unanimously found Paul Flores guilty of the first-degree murder of Kristin Smart. Paul's father, Ruben Flores, was found not guilty of being an accessory to Kristin’s murder.
Kristin Smart was a Cal Poly freshman when she was reported missing in May 1996. A 25-year investigation ensued, resulting in the 2021 arrest and prosecution of Paul and Ruben Flores. At trial the jury heard testimony that Kristin was last seen walking towards her dormitory with Paul Flores after leaving an off-campus party.
The jury heard evidence that a clandestine grave was located beneath the deck of the home of Ruben Flores, believed to have previously held Kristin’s body. Kristin's remains have not been recovered. Additionally, the jury heard from two women that, in the years following the murder of Kristin, Paul Flores drugged them and engaged in sex acts with them against their will and while they were so intoxicated that they were incapable of giving legal consent.
“The impact that Kristin’s disappearance and its investigation have had on the Smart family and our community, spanning a quarter century, is profound,” said District Attorney Dan Dow. “We thank them for the tremendous trust and patience they have placed in the investigation and prosecution of this terrible crime. This verdict provides some sense of justice for Kristin, the Smarts, and our community. Today, justice delayed is not justice denied.”
This conviction is the result of a tremendous collaborative effort of more than a dozen local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies over the span of 25 years, but most importantly, the perseverance of the Smart family.
"On behalf of the San Luis Obispo County team, we thank the Smart family for their steadfast pursuit of justice for Kristin. Their strength has inspired a community. We appreciate the witnesses in this case who came forward to reveal the truth about what happened to Kristin that cold night in May of 1996,” said Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle. “Many endured years of guilt, frustration, and anger, yet maintained their dignity and focus on the truth. Lastly, we want victims everywhere to know their voices will be heard and that there are people in the Justice System who will never stop fighting for them.”
The District Attorney’s Office acknowledges the witnesses and other testifying victims in this case. Each showed tremendous courage in coming forward to testify after carrying trauma for so many years.
We thank the jurors for their focused attention over a three-month trial and for their valuable time spent in careful deliberation of the facts of the case.
We acknowledge the tireless efforts of Chris Lambert in persistently and compassionately keeping the memory of Kristin alive, through the podcast Your Own Backyard.
Finally, a heartfelt thank you to Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni and her team for providing physical and technical support throughout the trial.
Paul Flores faces 25-years-to-life in prison for the murder of Kristin. He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 9 at 9 a.m. at the Monterey County Superior Court, Salinas Branch, Courtroom 4.
The investigation was led by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office. This investigation was brought to completion through the unwavering determination of Sheriff Ian Parkinson and his team who made the search for the truth a top priority.
The case was prosecuted by San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle along with James "J.T." Camp, Assistant Chief Investigator for the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation and Clint Cole, Senior Detective with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office. The prosecution team included Paralegal Rebecca Cripe, Victim-Witness Assistance Center Assistant Director Beth Raub, Witness Coordinators Eloiza Basinger and Kellie Navarro, Deputy District Attorneys Crystal Seiler and Mike Frye, and many others.
The District Attorney’s Office will be hosting a live press conference at 4:00pm PST which can be viewed on our Facebook page at fb.com/SLODistrictAttorney.
Please contact Assistant District Attorney Eric J. Dobroth at 805.781.5819 with any questions.