Paul Flores was found guilty on Tuesday of murdering Kristin Smart 26 years ago, but Reuben Flores, Paul’s father, was acquitted on a charge of accessory after the fact, prompting Smart’s father to say that his family’s fight for justice won’t end.
“After 26 years, with today’s split verdicts, we learned that our quest for justice for Kristin will continue,” Stan Smart said at a press conference.
“This has been an agonizingly long journey with more downs than ups, but we are grateful and appreciate the diligence and energy of the two juries to thoroughly review the facts and reach their decisions. Our faith in the justice system has been renewed by their commitment and effort.”
Paul Flores, 45, was the last person ever seen with Smart on the evening that she disappeared. Prosecutors argued at trial that Flores took a heavily-intoxicated Smart to his dorm room on Cal Poly’s San Luis Obispo campus after an off-campus party and tried to rape her before killing her.
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Ruben Flores, 81, was accused of helping his son bury Smart’s body behind his Arroyo Grande home then digging up her remains after law enforcement started investigating the case again decades later.
Paul and Ruben Flores were arrested last year. The younger Flores was convicted of first-degree murder after a jury deliberated for 12 days.
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Ruben Flores was found not guilty after six hours of deliberation by a separate jury.
“All that stuff they say is evidence – you look through it and there is no evidence against anybody, me or Paul,” Ruben told reporters outside the courthouse on Tuesday.
Smart’s remains have never been found.
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Stan Smart thanked the various law enforcement agencies that investigated his daughter’s murder over the past 26 years.
“To our Kristin: Almost three decades ago, our lives were irreparably changed on the night you disappeared,” he said on Tuesday. “Know that your spirit lives on in each and every one of us every day. Not a single day goes by that you aren’t missed, remembered, loved, and celebrated.”
Fox News’ Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report.