Paul Flores Found Guilty of Murder of Kristin Smart in 1996

A separate jury found his father, Ruben Flores, not guilty of being an accessory after the murder.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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A framed photo of Kristin Smart in the foreground, and a person holding his head in the background

Kristin Smart disappeared from Cal Poly in May 1996.

Axel Koester/Sygma via Getty Images

A jury on Tuesday found Paul Flores guilty of the first-degree murder of Kristin Smart following a three-month trial at a court in Salinas, California. Smart disappeared from Cal Poly, where she was a student, in 1996.

Flores was the primary person of interest in the investigation from almost the beginning.

A separate but concurrent trial by another jury found his father, Ruben Flores, not guilty of being an accessory after the fact to the murder. He was accused of helping Paul Flores conceal the body for the past 26 years.

Interest in the cold case was reignited by 2019 podcast Your Own Backyard, in which Chris Lambert interviewed witnesses and conducted an investigation that was followed by the arrests of Paul and Ruben Flores in April 2021.

Smart disappeared after attending an off-campus party during the Memorial Day weekend in 1996 and was last seen with Paul Flores. Smart's remains have never been found.

Flores awaits sentencing.