The man convicted last fall of killing Cal Poly freshman Kristin Smart in 1996 was hospitalized after he was attacked in prison, according to an official for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Paul Flores was taken to the hospital Wednesday after he was attacked at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, according to his attorney Harold Mesick and CDCR.
He was most recently listed as being in “serious condition,” according to CDCR officials. The circumstances surrounding his attack are under investigation by the prison’s investigative unit.
Flores was transferred to Pleasant Valley less than a week ago while he awaits appeal for his murder conviction.
Flores was convicted of first-degree murder in October 2022, following a whirlwind trial and years of speculation related to the most infamous unsolved crime on California’s Central Coast.
Smart was 19 years old when she vanished on May 25, 1996 from Cal Poly’s campus in San Luis Obispo. Flores was also a student at the time and was considered the last person to see her alive following an off-campus party.
For years, Flores was the only person of interest ever seriously considered to be a suspect in her disappearance.
Despite her body never being found, Paul and his father, Ruben, were arrested in April 2021 in connection with Smart’s death. Paul was accused of killing Smart in his dorm room during an attempted rape, and his father was accused of concealing the crime for years.
Paul was eventually charged and convicted of Smart’s killing and Ruben was charged as an accessory, although he was found not guilty following a simultaneous trial in Monterey County.
Paul Flores was moved to Pleasant Valley only a few days ago as he awaits an appeal for his murder conviction. He was expected in court for a restitution hearing on Thursday, according to local news outlet KEYT.
His condition was not immediately clear.
Flores, 46, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison and is eligible for parole in 2037.