Jury finds Paul Flores guilty of murdering Kristin Smart
Photo: Family photos

The family of Kristin Smart, the former California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo student who was murdered in 1996, finally got justice on Tuesday when her alleged murderer was found guilty in a Salinas courtroom.

According to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Paul Flores was found guilty on first-degree murder charges for the killing, which happened 26 years ago. The 45-year-old San Pedro man was convicted of premeditated murder and his father, Ruben Flores, is accused of helping to dispose of Smart's body, which was never found.

“I wish to express to you appreciation and that of the parties for your service in this case,” Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe said to the jury after the verdicts were read. “It is a great personal sacrifice to serve as a juror. ... You have been very attentive and conscientious throughout this case.”

The jury deliberated for four days about their verdict, the report said.

IN OTHER NEWS: 'It just fizzled': Fox News host slams John Durham's 'imploding' investigation after key acquittal

The judge in the case put a gag order on the trial to prevent parties involved in the trial from speaking about the case, Judge O'Keefe said that she was considering leaving it until sentencing.

Jurors can discuss the case or not, the judge said.

“If you chose to discuss the case with anyone, I encourage you to be thoughtful with your remarks,” O’Keefe said.

Paul Flores is charged with murdering Kristin Smart, while his father, Ruben Flores, is accused of helping to dispose of the body and conceal the crime.

READ: ’Bungling missteps' by Trump in Mar-a-Lago case were revealed by special master: expert

Smart was at an off-campus party during Memorial Day weekend in 1996 when she was killed. Flores was the last person seen with her as she was walking back to her residence hall on campus. Flores has been the "prime suspect" in the case for years. But when Flores' father was arrested in April 2021, there was a break in the case.

The charges against the elder Flores came on Monday and Paul Flores' jury made the decision on Tuesday.

Read the full report at the San Luis Obispo Tribune.