Man who murdered Kristin Smart gets 25 years to life

Monterey, California –

The man convicted of murdering Christine Smart, who disappeared from the University of California campus more than 25 years ago, was sentenced Friday to 25 years in prison.

Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keeffe has dismissed the defense’s motion to overturn Paul Flores’ first-degree murder conviction, acquit him, and order a new trial.

She said that Flores was a “cancer in society” and that, in addition to his prison sentence, he would have to be registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

O’Keeffe said Flores “lived freely in the community” for more than 20 years and engaged in “plundering” of women as an adult. worth it,” he said.

Smart, 19, disappeared over Memorial Day weekend in 1996 from the California Institute of Technology in San Luis Obispo on the state’s scenic central coast.

Her body has never been found, but she was declared legally dead in 2002.

Prosecutors alleged that Flores, now 46, killed Smart during an attempted rape in his college dorm room on May 25, 1996. She was the last person seen with Smart when he took her to her house from an off-campus party.

Flores was arrested in 2021, along with her father, who was accused of helping hide Smart’s body.

The trial took place in Salinas, Monterey County, about 110 miles (177 km) north of San Luis Obispo, but the defense argued that the reputation of the case prevented Flores and his father from seeking a fair trial in their county. He claimed that he could not accept it.

At the sentencing, prosecutor Chris Peuvrelle asked the judge for the maximum sentence, calling Flores a “true psychopath” and saying he should never be released from prison.

Smart’s father, brother, and other friends and relatives spoke at the hearing about the impact her death had on the family. Her brother, Matthew Smart, asked Flores to spend the rest of her life in prison.

“Paul chose to take my sister Christine’s life, the beautiful life. And now he has to pay.”

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow said in a statement after the hearing that justice was finally served.

“After nearly 27 years of unspeakable anguish, the Smart family has finally been sentenced for their daughter’s murder,” the statement said. “Their strength and determination inspire us all.”

A jury found Flores guilty in October. Another juror acquitted Ruben Flores, 81, of being an accessory.

At Paul Flores’ trial, defense attorney Robert Sanger tried to shift the killing to another person. Sanger was later convicted in a sensational trial for murdering his pregnant wife and the fetus she was carrying. said it was

Sanger filed a petition in Monterey County Superior Court on February 24 to dismiss the charges and acquit his client. One motion also calls for new trials.

Sanger challenged the forensic evidence presented by the prosecution. He argued that Flores’ right to a fair trial was violated because of prosecution errors and “admitting junk science as evidence.”

“There is a reason no lawsuit has been filed against Paul Flores for 25 years,” the motion said.

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office asked the court to deny these demands, arguing that “the allegations of wrongdoing are baseless and the allegations of judicial error are unfounded.”

Flores was long considered a suspect in the murder. He had black eyes when investigators interviewed him. He told them he was playing basketball with friends who denied his account.He later changed the story and said he hit his head while working on a car, according to court records.

Investigators searched Smart’s body dozens of times over 20 years to no avail. For the past two years, they have focused on Ruben’s Flores home in the community of Arroyo Grande, about 12 miles (20 km) south of Caltech.

Behind the trellis under the deck of his large house on a dead-end street, in March 2021, an archaeologist working for the police unearthed soil about the size of the coffin and the presence of human blood. Prosecutors said they found disturbances. The blood was too degraded for him to extract a DNA sample.

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