A jury has officially, and finally, found a man guilty of the murder of Kristin Smart back in 1996.
Out of Monterey County, California, a jury of a Superior Court officially found 45-year-old Paul Flores guilty of a charge of first-degree murder as of Tuesday evening, as reported by The Los Angeles Times. Ruben Flores, the father of the guilty party, was found not guilty of being an accessory to the murder. The verdict for the 1996 disappearance of Smart, who at the time was a freshman at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, officially settled a case that marked the community and managed to attract attention all over the country in the wake of it being aired as part of a true-crime podcast.
The Times reported that the prosecution team made the argument to the members of the jury that Flores raped, or attempted to rape, Smart while at a college party when the pair were both freshmen out of Cal Poly back in 1996. The prosecution team alleged that Flores “hunted” down Smart for many months, highlighting various witnesses who stated that he seemed to frequently be in the same places as her, which seemed to include her dormitory.
On the night that Smart was murdered, she went to a house party being held next to the college, where she was allegedly drugged and then passed out on the lawn for a period of two hours. As she, along with two other students, departed the party, Flores approached them to assist in getting her home. Witnesses stated that he helped her make her way up a hill, then stated to the others that he would be able to get her home on his own. The prosecution instead alleged that Flores moved Smart to his own room where he assaulted and subsequently killed her. He then phoned his father and the pair buried the dead body in the backyard of the father’s home, alleged the prosecution team.
Smart’s body has never been recovered. She was officially labeled as dead back in 2002. However, the case received additional attention in 2019 due to Chris Lambert, a journalist, starting the “Your Own Backyard” podcast, a true-crime series revolving around the disappearance of Smart.
In 2020, one neighbor reported overly strange activity around a trailer settled in the father’s yard. As alleged by the prosecutors, that was when the father-son duo moved the body in the wake of investigators making additional inquiries surrounding the house. The pair were arrested back in April of 2021, almost two and half decades after the initial disappearance, reported local outlet KSBY.
Paul Flores is slated for sentencing this coming month. He is looking down the barrel of a possible sentence of 25 years to life in prison, reported KSBY.