Paul Flores appears in court for his defense attorney's closing statement in October 2022. Paul Flores was found guilty of first degree murder of Kristin Smart on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022. Credit: Laura Dickinson | SLO Tribune

Editor’s note: The People v. Flores murder trial was covered each day by Mustang News. Read previous articles about the trial here.

Paul Flores has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the first-degree murder of Kristin Smart.

Judge Jennifer O’Keefe announced Flores’ sentence in court on Friday — five months after a jury found him guilty on Oct. 18. His father, Ruben Flores, was found not guilty of accessory to murder that same day.

Smart was reported missing in 1996 as a Cal Poly freshman. Paul Flores wasn’t arrested until 2021.

“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,” Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle, who prosecuted the case, said in a news release.

Paul Flores’ defense attorney, Robert Sanger, requested the sentencing be postponed from its original date of Dec. 9 in order for him to file a motion for acquittal and a motion for retrial — both of which were denied by O’Keefe on Friday.

From July 18 to Oct. 18, juries heard testimony from former Cal Poly students, cadaver dog handlers, archeologists, detectives and other expert witnesses. The trial consisted of two juries and verdicts, one for each of the defendants.

“The community stood together, never gave up, and supported us to see that justice was done,” Peuvrelle said. “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.”

Flores is required to pay $10,000 in restitution to his victims and could be eligible for a parole hearing in about 15 years, San Luis Obispo Tribune reported. He must also register as a sex offender for life due to assaulting Smart with a “purpose of sexual gratification and sexual compulsion,” O’Keefe said.

“Mr. Flores, you have been a cancer to society,” O’Keefe told Flores during Friday’s sentencing hearing. “This predatory behavior has spanned your adult life…You deserve to spend every day you have left behind bars.”

Cal Poly addresses Paul Flores’ sentencing

President Jeffrey Armstrong sent a campus-wide email Friday afternoon in response to the sentencing.

“Kristin Smart’s case is a tragic part of Cal Poly’s history and a cause for mourning for our university community,” the email stated. “After today’s sentencing, our thoughts as always are with Denise and Stan Smart and all of Kristin’s family.”

The email shared resources for students, including the Student Affairs office, Safer, Counseling Services and the Dean of Students office, and referred staff to the university’s Employee Assistance Program.

Armstrong also promoted the Civil Rights & Compliance Office as a resource for all students and staff.

Update, 4:25 p.m.: This article was updated to include information from Cal Poly’s campus-wide email.