Paul Flores Convicted in the 1996 Murder of KristinSmart

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Following a three-month-long trial, the case of Kirstin Smart’s death has finally come to a conclusion, with longtime suspect Paul Flores being found guilty of first-degree murder.

Kirstin Smart went missing in 1996, and since then, a 25-year-long investigation has been ongoing, leading to the 2021 arrest of both Paul Flores, the last person to see Smart alive, and his father, Ruben Flores, alleged to have Smart’s body was moved by usyAccording to a Press release from the San Luis Obispo District Attorney, Dan Dow. 

The case of Smart’s disappearance started when she went to an off-campus fraternity party over Memorial Day weekend back in May of 1996. Her friends didn’t want to go so they dropped her off and headed home. 

She was said to have been so drunk she needed help getting home. According to an earlier report from Inside Edition Digital, as two partygoers started walking Smart home, they met Paul Flores, a freshman. According to police, he offered to walk Smart home the rest of their journey. She was not seen again after leaving with Flores.

Days later Flores was brought in for questioning and maintained his innocence and was never arrested or charged until 2021.  

In the recent trial, the prosecution presented evidence it said shows Flores has a history of taking advantage of women while they were intoxicated and heard evidence that Smart’s body was believed to have at one time been located under Ruben’s home, according to the DA’s statement. Smart’s remains have yet to be recovered, reported San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson. 

“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,”Christopher Peuvrelle, Deputy District Attorney. 

Smart’s father, Stan Smart, spoke at a press conference that was held after the trial.

“This has been an agonizingly long journey with more downs than ups, but we are grateful and appreciate the diligence and energy of the two juries to thoroughly review the facts and reach their decisions,”He said: According to CBS News.

According to CBS News, the younger Flores’ defense attorney, Robert Sanger, tried to blame another person.

Scott Peterson, who was convicted of killing his wife and fetus, was also a student at the victim’s university, Sanger told jurors, according toCBS News. Sanger noted that Peterson could possibly be Smart’s murderer, reported the news outlet. 

Sanger’s attempts to defend his client included telling jurors that there was no rape, casting doubts on the witness’s testimonies, and calling the evidence “junk science”According to CBS News, it is.

“This case was not prosecuted for all these years because there’s no evidence,”According to CBS News Sanger claimed. “It’s sad Kristin Smart disappeared, and she may have gone out on her own, but who knows?”

Paul Flores faces a 25-year-to-life sentence in prison after being convicted of the murders of Kirstin and Kirstin Smart. According to the DA, he is expected to be sentenced December. According to the Los Angeles TimesHarold Mesick is Ruben Flores’ attorney. He expects Sanger to appeal his conviction and use Ruben Flores’ verdict to support it.

Reuben Flores was initially charged with being an accessory to the crime. He was later released. Prosecutors charged him with helping to bury Smart behind the house and later excavating and moving the remains.

“This has been a very long case. A long trial. And a long road to justice. But there is no true justice until Kristin is reunited with her family. This investigation will not be closed until we find Kristin,”Sheriff Parkinson.

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