Paul Flores sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for 1996 killing of Kristen Smart

Paul Flores was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Friday for the 1996 killing of fellow student Kristen Smart from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

Flores, 46, was arrested for Smart’s murder in 2021, 25 years after she first disappeared, and was convicted last October.

“After nearly 27 years of unspeakable anguish, the Smart family has finally seen their daughter’s killer sentenced,” Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle, who prosecuted the case, said in a statement.

“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,” District Attorney Dan Dow also said, adding, “Today, justice delayed is not justice denied.”

The San Luis Obispo Tribune reported that Smart’s brother, Matthew, described Flores as a “menace to society,” ahead of the sentencing.

“Paul chose to take a life, my sister Kristin’s life, a beautiful life,” he said of his sister, who was only 19 years old when she disappeared, according to the Tribune. “And now he must pay.”

Smart was last seen leaving an off-campus party with Flores on May 25, 1996. Her body was never found, and she was declared dead in 2002.

Prosecutors accused Flores of killing Smart during an attempted rape and alleged that Smart’s body may have been buried at his father Ruben Flores’ home. A March 2021 search of Flores’ home found a soil disturbance and the presence of human blood under the deck, where Smart is believed to have been buried.

Ruben Flores was also arrested in 2021 for accessory to murder but was found not guilty by a separate jury last October.

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