A Monterey County Superior Court judge on Friday sentenced Paul Flores to 25 years to life in state prison for killing California Polytechnic State University student Kristin Smart — the maximum sentence for first-degree murder.
“Mr. Flores, you have been a cancer to society,” Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe told Flores during Friday’s sentencing hearing.
“For 25 years you have lived free in the community” and continued to drug and assualt women, she said. “This predatory behavior has spanned your adult life.”
“You deserve to spend very day you have left behind bars,” O’Keefe said.
Flores was ordered to pay a total of $10,000 in restitution to his victims.
He must also register as a sex offender for life, as he assaulted and killed Smart with the “purpose of sexual gratification and sexual compulsion,” O’Keefe said.
In addition, he must provide specimens of his saliva and blood to authorities.
Flores will be eligible for parole.
With time served and good behavior, he will eligible for a parole board hearing in about 15 years. The parole board could grant or deny paroled release at that time.
Describing the man convicted of murdering Smart as a “menace to society,” her brother on Friday called for Paul Flores to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“Paul chose to take a life, my sister Kristin’s life, a beautiful life,” Matthew Smart said during the sentencing hearing. "And now he must pay.”
Before the judge's decision on sentencing, the prosecution, defense and Smart's family members and friends were allowed to speak.
Although defense attorney Robert Sanger did not speak, prosecutor Chris Peuvrelle took the opportunity to address the crowd assembled in the courtroom.
Peuvrelle said that Flores, who was found guilty of first-degree murder by a Monterey County jury in October, “still maintains his innocence ... but we know he lies.”
“Paul Flores is a true psychopath” who “takes perverse pleasure in raping women,” the prosecutor said, saying that Flores should never be released from prison. “He murdered Kristin with no remorse.”
Now, Peuvrelle added, “Kristin’s family will never see her again.”
Smart family members then had the opportunity to give victim impact statements to tell the judge how Smart’s murder has affected them and advocate for the sentence they felt was the most appropriate.
Stan Smart, Kristin Smart’s father, was among the family members who asked for the maximum state prison sentence allowed by law: 25 years to life without parole.
Stan Smart talked about how his daughter’s disappearance “negatively impacted each family member’s outlook on life” — putting “considerable stress” on his marriage to Denise Smart, Kristin’s mother, and leaving her siblings, Matt and Lindsey, “scarred emotionally.”
“This is a parent’s worst nightmare — the disappearance and death of their child,” Stan Smart said, describing it as “devastating to our whole family.” “We shared her hopes, her dreams, her aspirations as she became a beautiful young adult, and now she will never be able to have a full life.”
“Kristin was destined for great things,” her brother said. “She was building her legacy ... until she was taken away from her friends and family far too soon.”
Matthew Smart said the family has been waiting “more than 26 unthinkable years” for justice to be done.
“For 26 years there’s only been one suspect,” Smart said. “There has never been a need for a lengthy trial, only a confession from Paul Flores.”
As such, “There’s been no joy in Paul’s conviction,” Matthew Smart said, or his sentencing.
“We have waited long enough for this day,” he said.
He and his father said they’re still determined to locate Smart’s body, which has never been found.
“We continue to fight to ensure that justice is served for Kristin, that she is brought home to rest,” Matthew Smart said.
Smart, who was a 19-year-old freshman, disappeared after an off-campus party during Memorial Day weekend in 1996.
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