The man convicted last year for the 1996 murder of his college classmate Kristin Smart, Paul Flores, was reportedly attacked in prison Wednesday and was hospitalized in serious condition.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has not released many details, but Flores was hospitalized on Wednesday and said to be in serious condition, as the Associated Press reports.
Flores's attorney, Harold Mesick, tells the AP that prison officials informed him that Flores had been attacked. "I just pray for his recovery," Mesick said.
Flores was recently transferred to Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, which is where the alleged attack took place. He had previously been incarcerated at North Kern State Prison.
Flores, 46, was convicted last October for the murder of Smart, who disappeared from the Cal Poly campus in San Luis Obispo in May 1996. Flores, a fellow freshman at the school along with Smart, had long been a person of interest in the case, and there was a mountain of circumstantial evidence against him. Then, in recent years, a couple of more witnesses came forward, including an acquaintance from 1996 who recalled Flores bragging about the crime, and two women who claimed they were assaulted by him in later years.
Investigators also had physical evidence, including the response of cadaver dogs to the bed in Flores's dorm room.
Flores was the last person seen with Smart on the morning of May 25, 1996, walking her home after they left an off-campus party with two other friends. Smart had to be roused after passing out on a neighbor's lawn around 2 a.m., and friends suggested she may have been drugged.
Smart's body still has never been found, but authorities believed it had been long buried under a deck behind Flores's father's home in Arroyo Grande. The body was likely moved from there to a different location as authorities closed in on Flores in early 2021, according to prosecutors.
Flores's father, Ruben Flores, was acquitted of being an accessory to the crime.
Flores was sentenced in March to 25 years to life in prison.