The California man convicted of killing Kristin Smart, a college student who disappeared in 1996, will be sentenced Friday.
Paul Flores, 46, was convicted in October by a Monterey County jury of first-degree murder and faces between 25 years and life in prison.
Prosecutors accused him of killing Smart during an attempted rape on May 25, 1996, in his dorm room at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, where they were both students.
Smart’s remains have never been found. She was declared legally dead in 2002.
Flores’s father, Rubén Flores, was acquitted in October of the cover-up.
Prosecutors said Paul Flores was the last person seen with a heavily intoxicated Smart and walked her home after an off-campus party. Prosecutors alleged that his body may have been buried under a platform behind Rubén Flores’ home in Arroyo Grande. The father was accused of helping to bury Smart and of digging up the remains and moving them years later, prosecutors said.
Both men had pleaded not guilty in the case.
Paul Flores had long been considered a suspect in the murder, but prosecutors only arrested him and his father in 2021 after the investigation resumed.
Smart’s high-profile case has captured the attention of cold case enthusiasts for years.
The researchers had conducted dozens of searches over two decades. In recent years, attention has focused on the home of Ruben Flores, about 12 miles south of Cal Poly.
Behind the lattice work below the terrace of his home, archaeologists working for police in March 2021 found coffin-sized ground disturbance and the presence of human blood, prosecutors said, but the blood was too degraded to extract a DNA sample.
Flores’ October conviction was little comfort to Smart’s family.
«Without Kristin, there is no joy or happiness in this verdict,» Smart’s father, Stan Smart, said after the verdicts for Flores’ father and son were read. «After 26 years, with today’s split verdicts, we have learned that our search for justice for Kristin will continue.»