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(LOS ANGELES) — A California jury has found Paul Flores guilty in the murder of 19-year-old college student Kristin Smart in 1996.
His father, Ruben Flores, was found not guilty of accessory to murder in connection with the crime.
Paul Flores, a former classmate of Smart, was charged with murder, while his father was charged with being an accessory to the crime. Prosecutors say he helped hide Smart’s body on his property in Arroyo Grande before moving it in 2020.
Smart went missing walking home from a party at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Her body has never been found, but authorities arrested Paul and Ruben Flores in April 2021 and found alleged evidence related to Smart’s murder in their homes.
Paul and Ruben Flores were tried at the same time, but with separate juries hearing the case together. A verdict was reached in Ruben Flores’ case on Monday; that decision was sealed until Paul Flores’ jury reached its verdict Tuesday and they could be announced simultaneously.
-Paul Flores found guilty on count 1
-How attorneys summed up their case
-Juror dismissed after giving confession to priest
Here’s how the news developed. All times Eastern.
Oct 18, 6:03 PM EDT
Ruben Flores: ‘There were a lot of made-up things’
Ruben Flores said he was “relieved” about his not-guilty verdict as he left the courthouse Tuesday.
“There was a lot of made-up things,” Ruben Flores told reporters. “You look through it and there is no evidence against anybody, me or Paul.”
When asked if he had any comments for Kristin Smart’s family, he said, “I feel bad for them because they didn’t get no answers about what happened to their daughter, and we don’t know what happened to their daughter.”
Ruben Flores’ attorney, Harold Mesick, said his client never should have been charged and that the verdict was the “just outcome.”
He said “there is a reasonable inference to be drawn” that Smart might still be alive, and that prosecutors never proved her death.
Commenting on the split verdict, Ruben Flores said the jurors who found his son guilty “were carried away with feelings about the family.”
Oct 18, 5:31 PM EDT
Smart family to join press conference
Kristin Smart’s family will join a press conference on the verdicts with the San Luis Obispo County’s district attorney’s office and sheriff’s office that’s scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, ABC News has learned.
Oct 18, 5:09 PM EDT
Ruben Flores found not guilty of accessory to murder
A jury has found Ruben Flores not guilty of accessory to murder after the fact.
Paul Flores was not in the courtroom for his father’s verdict.
Oct 18, 4:58 PM EDT
Sentencing set for Dec. 9
The sentencing for Paul Flores has been scheduled for Dec. 9. He has been remanded into custody with no bail.
The court is waiting on one juror in Ruben Flores’ trial to return to the courthouse and is in recess until 5 p.m.
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