SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (TCD) — Paul Flores, the man convicted of killing 19-year-old student Kristin Smart in 1996, has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office announced the news Friday, March 10. A jury found Flores guilty of first-degree murder in October following his trial, which lasted three months. Paul Flores’ father, Ruben Flores, was acquitted of accessory to murder after the fact.
Flores’ sentencing bookends the 25-year investigation into Smart’s disappearance and murder.
San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow said in the news release, “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. 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.”
Dow also thanked the jury and investigators, adding, “Today, justice delayed is not justice denied.”
Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle, who prosecuted the case, said, “After nearly 27 years of unspeakable anguish, the Smart family has finally seen their daughter’s killer sentenced. Their strength and determination serve as an inspiration to us all. The prosecution team is grateful for the support of the entire San Luis Obispo community during the case. The community stood together, never gave up, and supported us to see that justice was done.”
He continued, “We hope that victims everywhere know that there are people in the justice system who will stand up to make sure their voices are heard.”
Smart was reported missing in May 1996 after she disappeared following a party near the campus of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She was last seen walking with Paul Flores back to campus.
The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office said investigators found a “clandestine grave” underneath Paul and Ruben Flores’ home that is “believed to have previously held Kristin’s body.”
According to the District Attorney’s Office, two women testified at the trial that 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.”
Smart’s remains still have not been recovered.
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