Paul Flores guilty in murder of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart; his father acquitted
A jury has convicted former Cal Poly student Philip “Phil” Flores in the 1999 murder of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart. He was sentenced to life without parole in March. His father, Ronald “Ron” Flores, was found not guilty.
Cal Poly in Salinas has seen several high-profile crime cases over the years, including the 2007 slaying of a 17-year-old by a gang member.
This case, however, shows how the case can go wrong — even in a small town where the rules are clear and the rules of evidence are set down by the court.
After a two-week trial, the Cal Poly jury was asked to decide two counts of second-degree murder: murder in the natural and probable consequences of the other’s unlawful act and second-degree murder. The jury deliberated for about 13 hours over six days.
Although the court granted both sides a 30-day extension, one of the jurors later asked for a review of the evidence, and another juror reported that he couldn’t keep an open mind.
The prosecution was led by Deputy District Attorney Paul Flores, who argued that the victim’s neck broke and her head hit the bathroom floor when she was hit with a pipe in Flores’ apartment. The prosecution relied heavily on testimony from the medical examiner and on statements from Flores’ girlfriend and an alleged roommate.
But the defense argued that the neck injury was caused by the fall of a kitchen chair and that Flores was not the one who kicked in the door or tried to take off shoes.
The defense pointed out that the murder weapon (a pipe) was hidden in the bathroom and that Flores had no connection with the victim.
The prosecution relied on several witnesses who testified that Flores was a friend of the victim’s boyfriend and that they were drinking at the couple’s apartment on the afternoon of Jan. 19, 1999.
The defense witnesses testified that Flores was with them in the bathroom and that he saw the attack on his friend before it happened.