Attorney for man convicted of the 1996 murder of Kristin Smart gets continuation, claims to have new information
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Sentencing for Paul Flores, 46, will have to wait as a Monterey County judge ruled to continue his sentencing hearing to next year.
Flores will now be sentenced on March 10, 2023, following a status hearing on Feb. 9, 2023. The continuation comes after Presiding Judge Jennifer O’Keefe approved a motion filed by Flores’ attorney, Robert Sanger, to continue his hearing to a later date.
Flores had been charged with the 1996 murder and disappearance of 19-year-old Cal Poly student Kristin Smart. He was found guilty of the first-degree murder of Smart on Tuesday, Oct. 18. His father, Ruben Flores, 81, was found not guilty of accessory after the fact. Ruben Flores was accused of helping his son hide Kristin’s remains. The father and son were both arrested in April 2021.
According to Sanger, he has found new information since the verdict reading, but he would not clarify what information he found. Court documents state that Paul Flores’ attorneys are in the process of working towards a motion for a new trial. Sanger argued the previously scheduled Dec. 9 sentencing would not give him enough time to file and serve the motions and allow the prosecution to respond.
San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle responded to the court, saying Smart’s family has a legal right to see a timely conclusion to this trial.
While Judge O’Keefe agreed, she ruled for the new sentencing date and status hearing. However, O’Keefe told attorneys she intended to proceed with the sentencing hearing in March with no further delays.
Paul Flores appeared at the Dec. 2 court hearing via Zoom from the San Luis Obispo County Jail — his first time appearing in court since his verdict reading in October. Also appearing virtually to the hearing was Sanger, Peuvrelle, and Stan Smart — Kristin Smart’s father.
After his successful prosecution of Flores, SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow announced in November that Peuvrelle will transition to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office in January 2023. However, Peuvrelle will continue to represent SLO County District Attorney and the People of the State of California for all post-trial matters and through the sentencing phase of People v. Paul Flores.
Not appearing in the hearing was Ruben Flores. While the father and son were tried at the same time, they had different juries. Ruben was found not guilty after his jury reached their verdict on Monday, Oct. 17. Following the verdict readings, Ruben and his attorney, Harold Mesick, spoke with the press.
Ruben Flores, who was on his way to have his electronic monitoring removed, told the press he was relieved but worried about his son and reinstated that his family does not know what happened to Kristin Smart. Paul’s mother, Susan Flores, was also not present in the hearing.
Paul Flores could face a sentence of 25 years to life behind bars. Atascadero News/Paso Robles Press will be following this story and will update when new information is available.