Paul Flores charged first-degree felony murder, father Ruben Flores charged with accessory after the fact

SAN LUIS OBISPO — This morning San Luis Obispo District Attorney Dan Dow announced that the District Attorney’s office filed a felony criminal complaint against Paul Flores (44) and his father Ruben Flores (80). The charge against Paul Flores is the murder of Kristin Smart. It is alleged that Flores caused Smart’s death while in the commission of or attempted rape, which is first-degree murder under California law.

Ruben Flores is charged with accessory after the fact to murder; it is alleged that he helped to conceal Smart’s body after the murder was committed. They both will be arraigned on Apr. 15, at 8:30 a.m. in the San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

“These charges mark a major milestone; for more than two decades, three Sheriff’s, three District Attorney’s and countless investigators have worked to bring justice to Kristin Smart. The story of Kristin Smart has touched us all. The story of her enthusiastic spirit, her experience as a Cal Poly college student, and her wonderful family. Her story has filled us all with determination, and her family has long become a part of our community. Today we mark the very first move to bring justice To Kristin Smart, her family, and the entire community of San Luis Obispo,” District Attorney Dow stated.

Getting through this together, Atascadero
San Luis Obispo District Attorney Dan Dow (right) and Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle (left).

“This month, we celebrate the rights of crime victims, a reminder that our role is to help victims and their families achieve justice,” Dow said. “The system is called the ‘criminal justice system,’ but I think it should be renamed the ‘criminal AND VICTIM justice system’ so that we can all improve that focus. Kristin’s family has been incredibly gracious through the years. They have willed this moment to happen, and we owe them a large debt of gratitude.”

After a review of the evidence in the case brought forward by the Sheriff’s department, the District Attorney team concluded independently that they have enough evidence to move forward and prosecute both Paul and Ruben Flores.

The lead prosecutor on the team will be Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle.

Dow went on to say that the District Attorney’s office is requesting information from the public. They are seeking information about this case or other potential crimes that Paul Flores may have committed. Including assaults or other acts. Anyone with information is asked to contact San Luis Obispo Crime Stoppers at (805)549-7867 or online at slotips.org.

Dow explained that at this time, they are in discussions with Paul Flores’ legal counsel; however, it is too early to say if any type of plea deal to locate Smart’s body is a part of that conversation.

Dow stated that the San Luis Obispo’s District Attorney’s office has tried cases prior without a body, and even though it is harder to do so, they are confident with the physical evidence and witness statements. They also have evidence that came out last month that they believe they have the location where Smart was taken. No further information or details about that can be discussed at this time.

District Attorney Dow addressed several questions, one being the ability to have a fair trial and jury in San Luis Obispo, which Dow stated he felt that the people of San Luis Obispo County take that duty seriously, and both Paul and Ruben Flores would receive a fair trial. Another was that with the charge of murder, they believe Paul Flores murdered Kristin Smart in his dorm room at Cal Poly while attempting rape in 1996. Dow did explain that at this time, no other individuals (addressing Paul’s mother Susan Flores) have been charged with any crime, but the investigation is still ongoing.

Finally, Dow answered a question of the whereabouts of Kristin Smart’s body and if he believed she was concealed at one of the Flores’s homes. Dow stated he could not answer that.

However, as reported, the Sheriff’s department is on day two at Ruben Flores’ home with reports that they are drilling and digging in and around the garage in addition to the back yard.

Dow noted that it is important that any criminal complaint charge must be proven in a court of law by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Every defendant is legally presumed innocent until proven guilty.