Paul Flores found guilty in death of Kristin Smart

West

(NewsNation) — Two California juries found Paul Flores guilty of the 1996 murder of 19-year-old Kristin Smart at California Polytechnic State University.

Flores, who is considered to be the last person to see Smart alive, was arrested last year and charged with Smart’s murder, according to Nexstar affiliate KTLA. Flores’ father, Ruben Flores, has been accused of helping his son cover up the murder for years.

Ruben Flores was found not guilty.

Paul Flores killed Smart during an attempted rape in his dorm room, prosecutors say. Smart’s body has never been found.

“It’s not necessarily an outcome I would expect in a case that has no real forensic evidence, there is no body and this is a crime that obviously occurred over 26 years ago,” criminal defense attorney Lara Yeretsian told NewsNation “Rush Hour.” “But it looks like in this case the prosecution was able to establish their case and convince a jury unanimously that agreed on a conviction in this case.”

This photo provided by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office shows suspect Paul Flores, who was arrested Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in the murder of Kristin Smart. Flores, the longtime suspect in the 25-year-old disappearance of the California college student, was arrested Tuesday, April 13, 2021, on suspicion of murder, and his father was booked in jail as an accessory to the crime. Flores, 44, who was the last person seen with Smart on the California Polytechnic State University campus in San Luis Obispo before she vanished in 1996, was taken into custody in the Los Angeles area. (San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Cadaver dogs were drawn to Flores’ dorm room a month after Smart’s disappearance, in what was the first piece of evidence tying Flores to the crime. Prosecutors have tried to portray Flores as a sexual predator but were unsuccessful in trying two additional rape charges to his case, according to KTLA.

Flores’ attorneys argued the lack of physical evidence in the case extends beyond reasonable doubt. They have suggested Smart willingly disappeared, is still alive, or was the victim of another killer.

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