Kristin Smart’s killer hospitalized in serious condition after attack in prison

Paul Flores was hospitalized after he was attacked in state prison.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

The man convicted of killing Kristin Smart, who vanished from the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo campus more than 25 years ago, was hospitalized after he was attacked in state prison, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Paul Flores was taken Wednesday from Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, Calif., to an outside hospital where he was in serious condition, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The department didn’t confirm whether Flores had been attacked. A spokeswoman said via email that the circumstances surrounding his injury were under investigation and that details wouldn’t immediately be released.


Flores’ attorney, Harold Mesick, said he was notified by corrections officials that his client was attacked Wednesday, although he didn’t have any details.

“I just pray for his recovery,” Mesick said.

Flores had been transferred to the Central Valley prison only last week from North Kern State Prison, Mesick said.

Closing arguments begin in the trial of Paul Flores, accused in the 1996 killing of college student Kristin Smart.

Oct. 4, 2022

North Kern is where prisoners are received and processed before being assigned to another facility.

Flores was sentenced in March to 25 years to life in prison for killing Smart.

The 19-year-old disappeared over Memorial Day weekend in 1996. Her remains have never been found, but she was declared legally dead in 2002.

Paul Flores, Kristin Smart's killer, sitting in a courtroom
Paul Flores was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Kristin Smart, who vanished in 1996.
(Daniel Dreifuss / Monterey County Weekly / Pool)

Prosecutors maintained that Flores, now 46, killed Smart during an attempted rape May 25, 1996, in his dorm room at the university, where both were first-year students. He was the last person seen with Smart as he walked her home from an off-campus party.

Flores was arrested in 2021 along with his father, who was accused of helping to hide Smart’s body. Flores was convicted of first-degree murder in October.

A separate jury acquitted Ruben Flores, 81, of being an accessory after the fact.