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Kristin Smart family attorney says Paul Flores arrest is 'good thing' for civil case

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Posted at 7:26 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-13 01:54:33-05

The attorney for Kristin Smart’s family says the arrest of person-of-interest Paul Flores is another step in the right direction.

Flores was the last person seen with Smart when she disappeared in 1996. Both were Cal Poly students at the time.

Jim Murphy has represented the Smart family in this case for nearly 25 years and he says the 2020 search warrants and the arrest of Flores Thursday on a weapons charge are promising.

While the arrest was not directly connected to Smart’s 1996 disappearance, “Because he was arrested for a felony, we are kind of sending him a message that ‘you are not above the law, Paul’. What's going to happen is that he will be arraigned on a felony. He may or may not get jail time or a substantial amount of jail time, but it will probably get some jail time,” Murphy said. “He's now part of the criminal justice system again so we are going to do what we can to notify the district attorney who is prosecuting him of what we know."

Murphy filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Flores on behalf of the Smart family in 1997.

Over the years, judges have allowed the lawsuit to move forward.

Depending on what comes out of this new criminal case against Flores, Murphy says he plans to serve subpoenas which would allow him access to those search warrants served in February and April of 2020.

“I don't know if there is a connection between the charges currently pending and the ultimate result which we hope to be a criminal trial for the death of Kristin or more information that I can use in a civil trial,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he is working with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office to see how to move forward before serving subpoenas.

Over the years, he has stayed in contact with the Smart family, even recently sitting down with Denise Smart at his Arroyo Grande office.

The $75,000 reward posted on the billboard outside his office on Traffic Way is still available for anyone with valuable information leading to an arrest.