A California judge on Friday denied defense motions to throw out Paul Flores’ conviction for the murder of Kristin Smart in 1996 and sentenced him to 25 years to life in prison.
Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe called Flores “a cancer on society” and ordered him to register as a sex offender, the Associated Press reported.
Flores, now 46, and Smart were students at Cal Poly in 1996, when prosectors say he killed the 19-year-old Smart and buried her at his father’s home, but later moved the body, as CrimeOnline previously reported. Smart’s remains have not been found, but she was declared dead in 2002.
Witnesses testified that Flores was the last person seen with Smart as they returned to campus after a party on May 25, 1996. Cadaver dog handlers testified that the dogs alerted in Flores’ dorm room during a search after Smart disappeared.
Flores was convicted in October, while a separate jury found his father, Ruben Flores, not guilty of being an accessory.
Flores’ attorney, Robert Sanger, filed motions at the end of February asking O’Keefe to vacate the guilty verdict and order a new trial or acquit him. The judge denied the motions.
Several of Smart’s relatives, including her father and siblings, and friends spoke at the sentencing hearing. Afterward, San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow issued a statement saying that ” justice delayed is not justice denied.”
“After nearly 27 years of unspeakable anguish, the Smart family has finally seen their daughter’s killer sentenced,” Dow said. “Their strength and determination serve as an inspiration to us all.”
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[Featured image: Right: Paul Flores/San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office and Kristin Smart/handout]