‘Today, justice delayed is not justice denied,’ District Attorney Dan Dow says in statement
Paul Flores has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the first-degree murder of Kristin Smart in 1996.
The sentence was handed down today in the Monterey County Superior Court from Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe.
Matthew Smart, Ms. Smart’s brother, was seen at the reading of the sentence alongside the rest of Ms. Smart’s family. He gave some words to reporters before the sentencing at the Salinas courtroom, saying that Mr. Flores has been a “menace to society.”
Ms. Smart was a student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where Mr. Flores was also a student at the time. In May 1996, Ms. Smart left an off-campus party and was accompanied by Mr. Flores. Ms. Smart was never seen again. A missing persons report was filed three days later.
An investigation commenced, and in 2002, Ms. Smart’s family declared her legally dead. Almost 20 years later, Paul Flores was named a prime suspect for the case and then arrested shortly there after.
In October 2022, Mr. Flores was found guilty of first-degree murder.
Ruben Flores, Mr. Flores’ father, was also on trial, as an alleged accessory to the murder. Later, he was found not guilty.
The publicity around this case has been intense, which as a result, the trials were moved at the request of the defense team to Monterey County, north of San Luis Obispo.
After the sentencing, San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow issued this statement: “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. We thank the Smart family and our community for the tremendous trust and patience they placed in the investigation and prosecution of this terrible crime.
“We recognize the jury for their focused attention to the evidence and the Sheriff’s Office for their tireless effort in building this case,” District Attorney Dow said. “Today, justice delayed is not justice denied.”