Flowers and balloons wrap around the "Justice for Kristin Smart" sign in the Village of Arroyo Grande.
Following the announcement of verdicts in Smart's murder trial on Tuesday, their attorney says the Smart family is still healing from their 26-year battle for justice.
Paul Flores was found guilty of Smart's murder back in 1996. However, his father, Ruben Flores, was acquitted of being an accessory to the crime.
“The sense of loss was pounded into them one more time," said James Murphy, Kristin Smart’s family attorney. "They were grateful to the jury for the verdict against Paul. They were of course upset over the fact Ruben Flores was found not guilty. That was disturbing to them.”
Ruben Flores’ attorney, Harold Mesick, told KSBY he believes in the jury system and the jury’s verdict.
“Overall, again, I’m pleased. Ruben is trying to rest, take a little time to himself. [He] just got his ankle monitor removed,” Mesick told KSBY News on Wednesday.
What happens now that the criminal case is over?
There is still an open door for civil litigation.
“I spoke to Stan [Smart] last night and he was interested in pursuing the civil suit but we have to sit down and talk,” Murphy said.
This wouldn’t be the first time. In 1997, Murphy filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Paul Flores. Then in April 2021, Murphy filed an intentional infliction of emotional distress lawsuit against Ruben Flores, Susan Flores and her boyfriend.
“An action pending against Ruben, Susan and Mike McConville, and in that, I allege that they participated in a scheme to remove Kristen’s body from Ruben Flores’ home,” Murphy explained.
Murphy said it will take a couple of months to move forward with the civil case if that is what the Smart family decides.
“I will work to hold the Flores family accountable and responsible for what they did to the Smart family until the day that I die,” Murphy said.
Mesick said he will continue to represent Ruben Flores in this matter.
“We understand the burden of proof is lower but again, there is no evidence of this story that’s been woven,” Mesick added. “I understand the emotions behind it.”
Susan Flores’ attorney, Jeffry Radding, told KSBY he has no comment at this time.