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Cal Poly students react to the Kristin Smart murder trial verdicts

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Posted at 6:45 PM, Oct 18, 2022

It's a story so embedded in the very fabric of Cal Poly, you can’t attend the university without hearing about Kristin Smart.

She was a student at Cal Poly in 1996 when she disappeared after attending an off-campus party.

On Tuesday, the man who was last seen with her, Paul Flores, was found guilty of her murder. His father, Ruben Flores, was acquitted of being an accessory after the fact.

It's hard to sum up the whirlwind of emotions after more than two decades but many students at the university are calling it closure.

"I disagree with the second part. I definitely think Ruben is guilty. It’s really disappointing to hear he didn’t get any charge. I am really excited to hear Paul did because I think it’s a long time coming and I'm really happy," said Joelle Andrews, a second-year student at Cal Poly.

Many students expressed dissatisfaction with Ruben's verdict.

"It's shocking, well, one, that he got convicted. That’s a great thing and some justice but it's also very sad his father, who I’m sure many people agree is very obviously an accessory, didn’t get any conviction," said Molly Garner, third-year student at Cal Poly.

"I mean, I’m glad obviously the truth came out but it's crazy a case can go that long cold. The unanswered questions for the parents and citizens of the community, not knowing and just getting swept under the rug, it's appalling," said Sydnie Biernam, a freshman at Cal Poly.

A student-led vigil is reportedly being planned in Kristin Smart's honor for this Friday, organized by Cal Poly Safer.