Last man seen with missing college student Kristin Smart found guilty in her 1996 death

Paul Flores (left) was the last man seen with missing college student Kristin Smart (right) over Memorial Day weekend in 1996 (Pictures: AP)

The last man that was seen with college student Kristin Smart has been convicted in her disappearance and death more than a quarter of a century later.

Paul Flores, a fellow student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury unanimously on Tuesday. Meanwhile, a separate jury found his father, Ruben Flores, not guilty of helping to hide Smart’s body.

The verdicts were both read in Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas, California, just minutes apart.

‘I wish to express to you the appreciation and that of the parties for your service in this case,’ said Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe to the jurors.

A jury unanimously found Paul Flores (left) guilty of first-degree murder (Picture: AP)
Kristin Smart’s remains were never found (Picture: AP)

‘It is a great personal sacrifice to serve as a juror… You have been very attentive and conscientious throughout this case.’

Smart vanished from the university over Memorial Day weekend in 1996. Her remains were never located.

Prosecutors said that Paul, who is now 45, Ki**ed Smart, 19, while attempting to rape her on May 25, 1995, in his dorm room. Paul accompanied Smart back home from a party off campus where she got intoxicated and apparently needed help walking. He was the last person seen with her.

Ruben, now 81, was accused of helping to bury Smart behind his home and later unearthing her remains and relocating them.

Paul Flores stands during his murder trial in Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas, California (Picture: AP)

Authorities named Paul as a ‘prime suspect’ in 2021 and took him into custody from his home in Los Angeles in April of that year. He was charged with murder during a rape or attempted rape.

Paul’s defense attorney, Robert Sanger, in closing arguments told jurors that no attempted rape was committed and tried to sow doubt in witness testimony.

‘This case was not prosecuted for all these years because there’s no evidence,’ said Sanger. ‘It’s sad Kristin Smart disappeared, and she may have gone out on her own, but who knows?’

Paul faces 25 years to life in prison, according to prosecutors.


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