The man found guilty of the 1996 murder of fellow college student Kristin Smart was given a sentence of 25 years to life in prison without parole on Friday in a California court, as reported by CNN affiliate KSBY.
In October, a jury found 46-year-old Paul Flores guilty of Smart’s unsolved first-degree murder. Smart’s body has never been found.
At the time of her disappearance in May 1996, Smart and Flores were both enrolled at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in central California. Prosecutors claimed Flores raped or attempted to rape Smart before killing her in his dorm room, and Flores was the last person to see Smart alive.
The disappearance of Smart shook the residents of San Luis Obispo, and no new information has surfaced in the case in almost twenty years. According to official records, Smart passed away in 2002.
Later, Smart’s family expressed gratitude to journalist Chris Lambert’s 2019 podcast, “Your Own Backyard,” for shedding light “in our darkest hours by sharing Kristin’s voice and story.”
Here is the tweet byBryceOselen (CNN) — The man convicted of killing fellow college student Kristin Smart in 1996 was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison without parole Friday in a California court, according to CNN affiliate KSBY.
(CNN) — The man convicted of killing fellow college student Kristin Smart in 1996 was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison without parole Friday in a California court, according to CNN affiliate KSBY. https://t.co/gssOl8PAjK
— Bryce Oselen (@BryceOselen) March 11, 2023
Flores and his father, Ruben Flores, were arrested in connection with Smart’s death in 2021 after fresh evidence emerged. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office told CNN at the time that deputies had utilised ground-penetrating radar and hand equipment to dig around in Ruben Flores’ backyard and find evidence.
Flores’ father was suspected by prosecutors of helping to transport Smart’s body to his Arroyo Grande house, where he hid her under his deck. After further investigation, the jury found Ruben Flores not guilty of Smart’s murder accessory charges.
Smart’s family commended prosecutors and detectives for their work after Paul’s conviction and Ruben’s acquittal on October 18, 2022, despite their conflicting feelings about the outcome.
“Without Kristin, there is no joy or victory with this verdict, we all know it did not have to be this way,” the Smart family said in a statement. The verdicts handed down today were not unanimous, and therefore the search for justice for Kristin will go on for another 26 years.
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