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Kristin Smart's Killer Seriously Injured, Hospitalized After Alleged Prison Attack, His Lawyer Says
“What I know is he was attacked yesterday [and] airlifted to the hospital in critical condition,” Paul Flores' lawyer, Harold Mesick, told Oxygen.com. Flores was listed in "fair" condition Thursday.
Paul Flores, the convicted killer in the 1996 slaying of college student Kristin Smart, was seriously wounded after he was allegedly "attacked" at a central California penitentiary this week, his lawyer said.
On Wednesday, Flores was rushed to the hospital in critical condition from Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga after sustaining undisclosed injuries while serving his life sentence for Smart’s murder.
Flores’ condition was upgraded to “fair” on Thursday, his lawyer and prison officials confirmed with Oxygen.com. Officials for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) are investigating the incident.
“What I know is he was attacked yesterday, airlifted to the hospital in critical condition,” Flores' attorney, Harold Mesick, told Oxygen.com in a brief email statement on Thursday afternoon. “[I] should know more in the next few days.”
Mesick said it also wasn’t clear when Flores might be released from the hospital.
The nature of Flores’ injuries, what led to the alleged attack, where he’s being treated, or who else may have been involved in the altercation remains murky. Flores’ lawyers, as well as prison officials, have remained tight-lipped on details involving the incident.
A spokesperson for the CDCR shied away from directly characterizing the incident as an attack.
“On Aug. 23 Paul Flores was transported from Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) to an outside medical facility,” Tessa Outhyse, a public information officer for the CDCR, told Oxygen.com.
The CDCR declined to provide additional information.
Flores was convicted by a California jury of first-degree murder in Smart’s disappearance and death in October 2022. His father, Ruben Flores, who was accused of helping his son dispose of Smart’s body, was acquitted on charges of being an accessory after the fact.
Smart vanished from California’s Polytechnic State University in 1996, when she was 19, after being escorted to her dorm by Flores. He was the last person to see her alive. Despite being a longtime person of interest in the case, more than two decades would go by before authorities would arrest Flores for Smart’s killing.
Flores and his father were both jailed in April 2021 after a police raid uncovered multiple “items of interest” that implicated the California man in Smart’s murder. Flores was sentenced to 25 years to life for Smart’s killing in March.