Police interview footage shows killer Paul Flores with black eye after Kristin Smart’s 1996 murder

Killer set to be sentenced this week and faces up to life imprisonment for the 1996 murder

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Wednesday 08 March 2023 20:53 GMT
Paul Flores found guilty of Kristin Smart's murder

Newly released evidence from the Kristin Smart murder investigation has shown her killer Paul Flores had a black eye during a videotaped interview with investigators.

Flores was convicted in October 2022 of the 1996 murder of the Cal Poly student and faces up to life imprisonment when he is sentenced later this week. A judge will either sentence him on 10 March or grant the 45-year-old a new trial, which his lawyers applied for in February.

Smart disappeared in May 1996 after attending an off-campus party, and witnesses told investigators that Flores was the last person seen with her.

Kristin Smart disappeared in 1996

One of the pieces of evidence in the case obtained by KSBY News was an interview carried out with Flores at the Arroyo Grande Police Department on 19 June 1996.

During the 48-minute interview, Flores was asked about why his story about getting a black eye had changed from it happening playing basketball to hitting his head on a car steering wheel.

“It didn’t really matter,” Flores told investigators, before adding “It was days later.”

Investigators asked him what he meant by it not mattering, and he replied, “Why does it matter if I leave out little details?”

The videotape and other evidence have now been released by the Monterey County Superior Courthouse.

Newly released evidence shows Paul Flores had a black eye during a police interrogation video (Monterey County Superior Courthouse)

The body of Smart, who was 19 when she was killed, has never been found.

Prosecutors said that Flores killed her while trying to rape her in his dorm room. His father, Ruben, was found not guilty by a jury of being an accessory to the crime.

During the interview, Larry Hobson, an investigator with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, asked Flores about leaving the party with Smart.

“You’re not acknowledging any of this ever happened, and yet all these other people are telling us it did happen,” Mr Hobson said in the recorded interview.

Smart’s body has never been found (Monterey County Superior Courthouse)

“I guess I had a blackout at that time […] but I remember her walking away though,” Flores said.

Evidence from the trial also includes photos of Kristin Smart’s belongings found in her dorm room, a handwritten letter from Denise Smart to her daughter in 1996, and dirt samples taken from Ruben Flores’ home in Arroyo Grande.

There was also a wiretap recording of a phone call between Flores and his mother, Susan Flores, on 26 January 2020, which was played in court.

“The other thing I need you to do is to start listening to the podcast. I need you to listen to everything they say so we could punch holes in it wherever we can punch holes,” Ms Flores said to Paul. “Maybe we can’t, you’re the one that can tell me.”

Flores is in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail awaiting sentencing.

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