Years to life in jail on Friday. After Flores, 45, was convicted guilty of first-degree murder in October, the punishment was read to him in a Monterey County courtroom. A judge rejected Flores’ attorney’s plea for a new trial prior to the sentencing.
At the time of her disappearance in 1996, Smart was a 19-year-old college student attending California Polytechnic State University. As of this writing, her corpse has never been located. She was ruled legally dead in 2002.
When she was allegedly found with Paul Flores during an off-campus party on Crandall Way in 1996, Smart was a student at the San Luis Obispo campus of Cal Poly. Three people—a man, a woman, and Flores—walked her back from the party. As Flores allegedly stressed repeatedly that he could safely get Smart home, the others gradually started to disperse.
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The state has said Flores killed Smart in his dorm room while he tried to rape her when they were both freshmen. The disappearance prompted a massive search. Paul Flores had been suspected of the murder for some time. When investigators spoke with him, he was sporting a black eye. He said he acquired it while playing basketball with pals, but they refuted this. According to court documents, he eventually modified his statement to say he hit his head while working on his automobile.
Behind latticework beneath the deck of Ruben Flores’ large house on a dead-end street, archaeologists working for police in March 2021 found a soil disturbance about the size of a casket and the presence of human blood, prosecutors said. Yet the blood was too degraded to extract a DNA sample.