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Paul Flores sentenced to 25 years to life for murder of Kristin Smart

Paul Flores was sentenced to 25 years to life in a Monterey County Superior Court today.
SLO County District Attorney's Office
Paul Flores was sentenced to 25 years to life in a Monterey County Superior Court today.

Paul Flores has been sentenced to 25 years to life without parole for the murder of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart 27 years ago.

Monterey County Superior Court Jennifer O'Keefe called Flores a "cancer to society" during today's hearing, and ordered him to pay $10,000 in restitution, register as a sex offender and serve time in state prison.

In October, a jury convicted Flores of first-degree murder of Smart, a Cal Poly student who has been missing since 1996. A separate jury found his father Ruben Flores not guilty of accessory to murder.

Paul Flores’ sentencing comes after a Monterey County Superior judge denied two motions filed by Flores’ attorney this month: one seeking a new trial and another requesting the judge to overturn the guilty verdict.

“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,” SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow said in a press release after the sentencing.

“Today, justice delayed is not justice denied," Dow said.

Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle, who prosecuted the case, echoed that statement.

“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," Peuvrelle said. "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.”

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said in a Facebook posthe agrees with the sentence, and that he will continue to work towards recovering Smart's remains.

"We want to remind the community this case is not over yet. And it won’t be over until Kristin has been returned to her family," Parkinson said.

Kristin Smart was last seen in 1996 walking home from an off-campus party. Witnesses say Paul Flores was the last person to be seen with Smart. Her body has never been found, but she was declared legally dead in 2002.

KCBX Reporter Amanda Wernik graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a BS in Journalism. Amanda is currently a fellow with the USC Center for Health Journalism, completing a data fellowship that will result in a news feature series to air on KCBX in the winter of 2024.
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