Jury convicts Paul Flores in the murder of Kristin Smart, Ruben Flores not guilty

October 18, 2022

Kristin Smart


A Monterey County jury on Monday found Paul Flores guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of Kristin Smart in 1996. A second jury determined Ruben Flores was not guilty of helping to dispose of Smart’s body.

Paul Flores’ verdict was read first. After about four full days of deliberations, jurors found the 41-year-old guilty of first-degree murder, which means willful, premeditated murder. He now faces from 25 years to life in prison.

Paul Flores murdered Kristin Smart during an attempted rape in 1996 following a Cal Poly frat party. After the party, Flores helped escort Smart, who was found passed out on a lawn outside the party, back to her dorm room. She was never seen again.

Paul Flores, the primary suspect in the case, was sporting a black eye when interviewed by law enforcement, who determined he lied repeatedly. Even so, it would be years before deputies raided Paul Flores’ home.

During a 2020 raid of Paul Flores’ San Pedro home, deputies discovered multiple rape videos with titles including, “Drugged and raped while passed out” and “Blonde high school girl in skirt gets raped.” Investigators also found two bottles of date rape drugs in Flores’ home, prosecutors said.

Deputy arresting Paul Flores

In a file labeled “practice,” Paul Flores stored homemade rape videos of himself having sex and sodomizing women.

Deputies arrested Paul Flores and his father Ruben Flores in April 2021. Ruben Flores was accused of helping his son dispose of Smart’s body, which prosecutors believe was buried under a deck at Ruben Flores’ Arroyo Grande home.

Ruben Flores’ attorney Harold Mesick successfully argued there was not enough evidence to convict his 81-year-old client.

During the trial, Jennifer Hudson, who encountered Flores at a mutual friend’s house in 1996, testified Paul Flores, who referred to Smart as a “dick tease,” said that he buried Smart’s body under a skate ramp in rural Arroyo Grande.

Paul Flores’ attorney Robert Sanger unsuccessfully argued during his closing statement that Hudson was not a credible witness because she changed her story multiple times. Sanger said Hudson, who he called the prosecution’s “star witness,” wove a preposterous tale.

Paul Flores is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 9.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

What causes this kind of evilness?… This kind of disrespect for human life…

I don’t get it…

While this is great news, it’s ridiculous that decades of botched police work allowed these pathetic psychopaths to get away with burying her in “their own backyard” for 24 years while the media and police focused on Susan Flores’s house and ignored Ruben’s house. Finally police actually did a preliminary search under Ruben’s deck and found evidence that she was probably buried there. Now you’d think then they would immediately seal off the scene or at least keep the home under 24/7 surveillance while they get a warrant to dig, but they did NONE of that. So Ruben and friends are able to dig her up and move her to God knows where under the noses of the community while they are under renewed heightened suspicion! Then the police finally get their dig warrant and surprise surprise, the ground is now all dug up and no body. Ruben was probably shocked he didn’t get caught doing that audacious move. So yes, the court case is now over, but please SLO Sheriff learn from all this massive mistakes you made and make sure that never happens again. And let’s hope someone squeals about where they moved the body to, so the Smart family can bury their beloved daughter and fully get the closure they deserve.

The SLO Sheriff’s office did not make the mistakes. They were trying to catch up from the Cal Poly Police cover-up and delay tactics when they finally took over the case. If you don’t believe me ask the Smarts.

Also, multiple media outlets, including Congalton’s show, reference the SLO City Police. They were never involved.

If I recall correctly the podcast describes in pretty good detail the shared ineptitude of the various law enforcement agencies in the early stages of the case including the sheriff’s office. Wasn’t it the sheriff who coached Paul during an early interrogation that they had no evidence and basically no case without a body or a confession? That dopey law enforcement official (Hedges?) should have exercised his right to remain silent.

My mistake. Hedges made a lot if mistakes but it was Sheriff Ed Williams who inadvertently coached Paul and in the opinion of the podcaster ‘might have been the biggest misstep that investigators have made.’

Yes, Cal Poly PD make the *worst* mistakes (led by the incompetent victim-blaming detective Mike Kennedy), but SLO Sheriff did make their own fair share of mistakes. I’m sure Ruben crapped his pants when they started searching under his patio where they buried her body and then I bet he couldn’t believe his luck when they left without digging there, so he immediately set out to dig up and move the body before they came back to do a proper search.

Cal Poly PD was just following then President Baker’s direction, down play the disappearance, treat it like a student just taking a trip, don’t get the student body or parents worried or concerned about sending the children and money to the university, the old “nothing to see here, just move on along”. That is Baker’s legacy.

Yep, and to this this day Cal Poly wishes that she had just disappeared with no further explanation. That is what Cal Poly Police were tasked to do.

So now it’s Baker’s fault that the cops never searched Flores’s room and did a proper investigation? How does Cal Poly benefit from letting a murderer get away with a horrendous crime? Any cop with half a spine would never cave to such an order even if there was any evidence that it was given, and trust me, Kennedy is such a tool he’d gladly roll over and blame Baker if he could. Baker’s legacy is being one of the best Presidents Cal Poly ever had, compared to Armstrong who is a mindless drone who does the Chancellor’s bidding.

How do you have one guilty and the other not. No eyewitness, no DNA. no body, no confession.

I am sorry for the family. Paul Flores may very well have killed her. The evidence allowed during the trial either assures a reversal or will be a travesty. You don’t get to prove murder with prejudicial and unsubstantiated evidence of subsequent rapes. The judge did not do the family any favors, watch and see.

So what if you’re right. He’ll sit in prison for all of that time, which could be several years. He’ll be ostracized by the general prison population, which is mostly made up of robbers and drug addicts who take a dim view of sex criminals. They’ll take sucker punches at him whenever they can. They’ll spit in his food. His life is now hell.

Happy ending.

Sucker punches? Spitting in his food? Man, you really have a pollyannish Disney channel idea of what goes on in prison! Do you think next they’ll short sheets his bed and start a water balloon fight in the quad? This is hard time, not summer camp! Flores is going to wish all they were doing is spitting in his food, instead of putting him on the receiving end of the sex crimes he committed and that’s just for starters.

I’m impressed you attended every day of the trial in person to know this. I only got my information from the media.

It is my heartfelt prayer he tells her family where she is buried.

FINALLY! I cannot believe this day has come. RIP Kristin.

I pray now that her body would be delivered back to her family. Blessings to all of Kristin’s family.

Rest in Peace Kristin Smart.

Hallelujah! Justice is served. I hope her parents can have a little bit of closure now.