Kristin Smart's Killer Attacked Within Days of Prison Move

Paul Flores hospitalized Wednesday in California
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2023 7:33 AM CDT
Kristin Smart's Killer Attacked Within Days of Prison Move
This file photo provided by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office shows Paul Flores who was arrested on April 13, 2021, for the murder of Kristin Smart.   (San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

The man convicted of killing California college student Kristin Smart was taken to a hospital in serious condition Wednesday following a prison attack, per Fox News. Paul Flores was convicted of premeditated murder in the 1996 disappearance of Smart, a 19-year-old freshman at California Polytechnic State University, last October. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in March, with the judge calling him "a cancer to society." He'd been moved to Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, likely to be his permanent home, from North Kern State Prison only five days before the attack, his lawyer, Harold Mesick, told USA Today. "I just pray for his recovery," he said, per the AP.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Flores, 46, was taken to a medical facility in serious condition. It didn't confirm the attack but said Flores' injuries were under investigation. In a Thursday update, the department said Flores had been upgraded to fair condition, per USA Today. If he continues to improve, he could return to prison under protective custody, Mesick said. He is appealing his conviction, per Fox.

Prosecutors alleged Flores was the last person seen with Smart, who was intoxicated following an off-campus party, and was seen with a black eye in the days following her disappearance. They said Flores killed Smart in his dorm room during a rape or attempted rape, buried her body under a deck at his family's home, then moved it later. Numerous women accused Flores of drugging and raping them. Prosecutors also uncovered a video Flores had recorded, showing him raping an intoxicated woman. Smart was declared legally dead in 2002. Her body has not been found. (Read more Paul Flores stories.)

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