We will soon know the fate of Paul and Ruben Flores, as sentences are handed down for both defendants in the Kristin Smart murder case.
Court officials have indicated that both sentences will be read back-to-back from 1:30 p.m
While Ruben’s jury delivered their sealed verdict to Judge O’Keefe late Monday morning, Paul’s jury took nearly two weeks to complete a decision, even though jurors did not deliberate every day.
Closing arguments in their case ended the first week of October, and two panels of 12 jurors began deliberating separately thereafter.
Paul Flores and his father, Ruben, were arrested on the morning of April 13, 2021 at their separate homes in connection with the May 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart.
Paul, 45, was charged with first-degree murder. Authorities allege he killed the 19-year-old Cal Poly freshman while trying to rape her. Witnesses say Paul Flores was the last person seen with Kristin Smart before her disappearance.
Ruben Flores, 81, is charged with accessory after the fact, accused of helping to cover up the alleged crime. He posted $50,000 bond shortly after his arrest and was released from custody. Paul was refused bail and has been in custody ever since.
The prosecution told jurors during closing arguments that the evidence is clear and shows that Kristin Smart is dead and was killed by Paul Flores; However, the defense argued that the case is straightforward and that there is no evidence of a murder.
While Kristin’s body has never been found, she was declared legally dead in 2002.
The trial for the couple got underway in a Salinas courtroom on July 18 after a San Luis Obispo County judge ruled in March that Paul and Ruben Flores were unlikely to receive a fair and impartial trial in the county, largely because many years of publicity in the county. case and the size of San Luis Obispo County.
While Paul and Ruben Flores were tried together, they each had separate juries that heard separate opening statements and closing arguments, and at times were not allowed in the courtroom if evidence or testimony related to only one defendant’s case.
Only Paul’s jury will be present at the reading of his verdict and the same for Reuben’s jury when his verdict is read.
Rubens’ jury was instructed not to talk to anyone about their decision after handing the sealed envelope containing their decision to the judge on Monday. They were also told not to speak to members of Paul’s jury until both verdicts are announced.
Dozens of witnesses were called to testify during the trial, including Kristin’s parents, college friends, coroners, detectives and acquaintances of Paul Flores, some detailing interactions or conversations they had with him around the time Kristin disappeared.
Law enforcement officers handling the early parts of the investigation were also called to the stand along with two women who testified to being sexually assaulted and raped by Paul Flores in Southern California.
Members of the Smart family have been in the courtroom throughout the more than two-month trial.
Susan Flores, Paul’s mother, was also present at the beginning and end of it.
The judge has refused audio or video recordings of the trial and only allows still photography. The sentencing will not be live streamed due to courtroom restrictions.
If convicted, Paul Flores faces a sentence of 25 years to life behind bars. Ruben Flores faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
KSBY has a crew at the courthouse and will have the latest on the verdicts as soon as they are announced.