Paul Flores, the man convicted of the 1996 murder of Stockton’s Kristin Smart, has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Smart was a 19-year-old Cal Poly freshman when she was reported missing in May 1996. A 25-year investigation ensued, resulting in the arrest of Flores, 46, and his subsequent conviction last October.

Friday’s sentencing was the culmination of a nearly three-decade process to hold Smart’s killer responsible.

“Today, our criminal and victim justice system has finally delivered justice for Kristin Smart, for the Smart family, and for our San Luis Obispo County community,” County District Attorney Dan Dow said. “We thank the Smart family and our community for the tremendous trust and patience they placed in the investigation and prosecution of this terrible crime.”

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle, who prosecuted the case, praised the diligence of the Smart family.

“After nearly 27 years of unspeakable anguish, the Smart family has finally seen their daughter’s killer sentenced. Their strength and determination serve as an inspiration to us all,” Peuvrelle said.

Flores’ father, Ruben Flores, was accused of helping him hide Smart’s body, but was acquitted on the charge of accessory to murder.

Kristin Smart was 19 years old when she disappeared in 1996.

Kristin Denise Smart was born February 20, 1977, in West Germany and her family moved to Stockton when she was a child. She graduated from Lincoln High School in 1995 and went on to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Prosecutors have long suspected fellow student Flores of killing Smart during a rape or attempted rape in his dorm room.

Smart’s disappearance resulted in state legislation to protect students on college campuses, including the Kristin Smart Campus Security Act, a bill which requires public colleges and publicly funded institutions in the state to have their security services make agreements with local police departments regarding cases involving or possibly involving violence against students, including missing students.

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