Split verdict in Kristin Smart murder: Why Paul Flores was found guilty but not his dad
Jurors found Paul Flores guilty on two counts of first-degree murder in the 2011 killing of Kristin Smart, but the man’s father failed to receive the same fate when his own appeal of the conviction was rejected. (Photo courtesy U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York)
After the second day of deliberations in this death penalty case, a juror looked at me and said, “I don’t want to have to do this. It’s just been too much,” said the woman, who was on the jury.
She paused for a long minute, then asked, “Do you understand why I’m doing this?”
I nodded, thinking, as our trial began a second time on Monday. Paul Flores wasn’t the only person who lost a loved one in the shooting death of Kristin Smart. The loss was shared by both the victim’s family and the Flores family.
In the trial of the man charged with second-degree murder, the death penalty would be an option. And the jury had to weigh the life of a man who was shot by the ex-wife of a drug dealer who was on the run from authorities for a crime he did not commit.
The jury also had to figure out the life of a man who, through no fault of his own, was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.
At first I thought the verdict was an absolute outlier, based on the way the jury reached its decision. I thought the only logical outcome would be a guilty verdict for Paul Flores, and his appeal would be denied.
I was only partially right.
Jurors decided the jury would never have reached a verdict for the man his father, Paul Flores Jr., Sr., whose death sentence was not overturned.
The jury’s decision to allow Flores to be convicted for the murder of Kristin Smart stemmed from the emotional testimony of three jurors, as well as the jurors’ shared experiences with Paul Flores and his father.
Juror No. 2 described the crime