Convicted killer of California college student Kristin Smart ordered to pay $350k in restitution

Jun 17, 2024, 5:40 PM

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) — A California judge ruled Monday that a man convicted of killing 19-year-old college student Kristin Smart in 1996 must pay just over $350,000 to her family for costs they incurred after her death.

Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe ordered Paul Flores to make the payments after a hearing last Wednesday, during which the family told the court how much they paid for travel, a private investigator, billboards seeking information, lost wages and a celebration of life gathering.

“It’s demeaning to Kristin’s memory to measure our loss in finances,” her mother Denise Smart told The Tribune of San Luis Obispo after Wednesday’s hearing. “Our loss is Kristin.”

The family had sought about $361,000 in restitution. O’Keefe told the family that they could seek additional restitution if they wish to submit other expenses.

California courts require those convicted of crimes to compensate victims for the expenses that were caused, regardless of a defendant’s ability to pay. The state corrections department collects 50% of prison wages and money deposited in convict’s trust account to pay restitution.

Smart went missing from California Polytechnic State University in May 1996. Prosecutors alleged she was killed during an attempted rape and that the last person she was seen with was Flores, a fellow student. Kristin Smart was declared legally dead in 2002.

A podcast called “Your Own Backyard” helped investigators crack the case by bringing forward additional witnesses. Flores and his father, Ruben Flores, were arrested in 2021.

Prosecutors alleged Kristin Smart’s remains were buried on Ruben Flores’ property and later moved. He was acquitted of accessory charges.

Paul Flores was convicted in October 2022 and sentenced in March 2023 to 25 years to life. He has been physically attacked in prison twice since August 2023.

Denise Smart said last week that the family offered to forgo restitution if Flores would tell them where Kristin’s body was. Flores’ attorney, Harold Mesick, said the defense did not know where her remains are. Flores maintains his innocence, Mesick said.

Denise Smart said Monday that the offer remains open.

National News

Death row inmate Taberon Honie leaves the Utah Board of Pardons commutation hearing Monday, July 22...

Associated Press

Attorneys for state of Utah ask parole board to keep death sentence for man convicted in 1998 murder

Attorneys for the state of Utah are expected on Tuesday to urge a parole board to deny a death row inmate’s request for his life to be spared ahead of his scheduled Aug. 8 execution. Representatives of the 49-year-old victim, Claudia Benn, were scheduled to testify before both sides deliver their closing arguments during the […]

9 minutes ago

FILE - Entertainer and activist Jon Stewart speaks at the Capitol in Washington, May 26, 2021. Stew...

Associated Press

Jon Stewart pushes VA to help veterans sickened after post-9/11 exposure to uranium

WASHINGTON (AP) — Comedian Jon Stewart is pressing the Biden administration to fix a loophole in a massive veterans aid bill that left out some of the first U.S. troops who responded after the Sept. 11 attacks and got sick after deploying to a base contaminated with dangerous levels of uranium. Special operations forces deployed […]

16 minutes ago

FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a cabinet meeting at the Kirya military bas...

Associated Press

Netanyahu is in Washington at a fraught time for Israel and the US. What to know about his visit

WASHINGTON (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington this week is looming as a fraught one between the two allies, coming at a moment of extreme political flux in the United States, and wariness among American leaders about Netanyahu’s history of interjecting himself into U.S. domestic politics. The main purpose of Netanyahu’s […]

21 minutes ago

FILE - President Joe Biden sits in the Oval Office of the White House, Feb. 9, 2024, in Washington....

Associated Press

Biden aims for more achievements despite the bane of lame-duck presidents: diminished relevance

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden says he’s “determined to get as much done” as he possibly can in his final six months in the White House as he tries to beat back a defining force that his lame-duck predecessors struggled to vanquish: diminished relevance. Biden hopes to keep the spigot flowing with […]

24 minutes ago

Associated Press

UN says nearly 40 million people had HIV in 2023 — and every minute someone died

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Nearly 40 million people were living with the HIV virus that causes AIDS last year, over 9 million weren’t getting any treatment, and the result was that every minute someone died of AIDS-related causes, the U.N. said in a new report launched Monday. While advances are being made to end the […]

28 minutes ago

FILE - President Joe Biden attends an event on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Washington, July...

Associated Press

Biden passed that torch slowly, hanging on until the wheels finally came off

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the formulaic “pass the torch” drumbeat thumped on from lawmakers wanting him to quit the race, President Joe Biden maintained a brave face. Publicly, he vowed he was all in, until the day he got out. But there were telling indications he was listening to that beat long before he ended […]

36 minutes ago

Convicted killer of California college student Kristin Smart ordered to pay $350k in restitution