An interesting twist in the August prison attack on Kristin Smart’s convicted killer Paul Flores: It turns out his attacker is the same prisoner who strangled and killed his cellmate in 2021, a cellmate who was the notorious "I-5 Strangler."
The 1996 killing of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student Kristin Smart is a case that went largely cold for 25 years, but has made plenty of headlines since the 2021 arrest of primary suspect Paul Flores. Flores was eventually found guilty just over a year ago, and was sentenced to 25 years to life this past March, a sentence he is currently serving at Pleasant Valley State Prison in the Fresno County city of Coalinga.
Then, in August, we learned Flores was attacked in prison buy another prisoner, leaving him hospitalized in serious condition for two days. Details on that attack were otherwise scarce. But now the Associated Press reports that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has named the inmate attacker as Jason Budrow, the same prisoner who also attacked and killed the I-5 Strangler in 2021 when those two were cellmates.
The attack on Flores occurred just a week after he was moved to the Coalinga prison.
As a reminder, the I-5 Strangler (real name Roger Reece Kibbe) was a serial killer and rapist with eight known victims whom he killed between 1977 and 1987. Budrow then killed Kibbe, who was 81 at the time, when they were cellmates in 2021, a deed which Budrow performed on the very first day they became cellmates at Mule Creek State Prison near Sacramento. Budrow penned a letter to the Bay Area News Group saying that he’d premeditated that killing for several months.
For his part, the now-serial prisoner attacker Budrow is serving a life sentence for the strangling and killing of his girlfriend in 2010 in Riverside County. As we see in this 2021 Bay Area News Group article, Budrow is a self-described “Satanist” who has “666” tattooed above his right eyebrow. He said that he planned to kill Kibbe to avenge the deaths of Kibbe's victims.
Budrow was transferred out of Mule Creek State Prison after the murder, and he was sentenced to a second consecutive life sentence for the killing.
The mode of the attack on Flores is still unclear. "CDCR is limited in the amount of information it can provide on incarcerated people’s housing for safety and security reasons," that agency said in a statement to the AP. Budrow had been being housed in protective, solitary housing since coming to Pleasant Valley.
Naturally, Budrow is likely to be charged in this attack as well. Thought the Fresno County DA’s office says they have not yet been given the case to review.