SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — The man who murdered 19-year-old Cal Poly student Kristin Smart in 1996 has been sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison.

Today, Friday, March 10, Monterey County Superior Court Presiding Judge Jennifer O’Keefe sentenced Paul Flores (46) to serve 25 years to life in state prison after a jury convicted him last October of Kristin’s murder.

Kristin Smart was a Cal Poly freshman when she was reported missing in May 1996. A 25-year investigation ensued, resulting in the 2021 arrest and 2022 conviction of Paul Flores.


“Today, our criminal and victim justice system has finally delivered justice for Kristin Smart, for the Smart family, and for our San Luis Obispo County community,” said District Attorney Dan Dow. “We thank the Smart family and our community for the tremendous trust and patience they placed in the investigation and prosecution of this terrible crime. We recognize the jury for their focused attention to the evidence and the Sheriff’s Office for their tireless effort in building this case. Today, justice delayed is not justice denied.”

This sentence is the result of a tremendous collaborative effort of more than a dozen local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies over the span of 25 years, but most importantly, the perseverance of the Smart family.

“After nearly 27 years of unspeakable anguish, the Smart family has finally seen their daughter’s killer sentenced. Their strength and determination serve as an inspiration to us all,” said Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle, who prosecuted the case. “The prosecution team is grateful for the support of the entire San Luis Obispo community during the case. The community stood together, never gave up, and supported us to see that justice was done. We hope that victims everywhere know that there are people in the Justice System who will stand up to make sure their voices are heard.”

The case was prosecuted by San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle along with James “J.T.” Camp, Assistant Chief Investigator for the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation and Clint Cole, Senior Detective with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office. The prosecution team included Paralegal Rebecca Cripe, Victim-Witness Assistance Center Assistant Director Beth Raub, Witness Coordinators Eloiza Basinger and Kellie Navarro, Deputy District Attorney Crystal Seiler and many others.

The District Attorney’s office sends a heartfelt thank you to Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni and her team for providing physical and technical support throughout the trial, which was held at the Salinas Valley Courthouse in Monterey County.