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Locals in Arroyo Grande hold vigil for Kristin Smart’s murder trial verdict

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. -- Locals came together to celebrate Paul Flores' guilty verdict of the Kristin Smart murder from 1996. Although others were not pleased when his father, Ruben Flores, was found not guilty. Organizers set up purple ribbons around town to honor her favorite color and held a vigil at Heritage Square Park to show support for Kristin Smart's family.

Paul Flores was found guilty of first-degree murder and Flores senior who still lives in Arroyo Grande -- was found not guilty of being an accessory to the murder of Smart. Locals say they are relieved Flores was found guilty.

“A relief piece. Peace of mind closure. 26 years is a long time to wait", said Stephen Scudder who lives in Arroyo Grande".

Community members said growing up with this unsolved case took a toll on the entire town of Arroyo Grande. They said they came together to show support for the Smart family.

“I mean, we were born and raised here. We've seen that sign every day. You know, that's been up. And now it's like, okay, justice is finally served. So, you know, we got to move on from this now and pray that the family can move on and, you know, have that closure", said Kristia Bandy who lives in Arroyo Grande.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo alumni's traveled from Fresno to show support at the vigil. A student said as a woman and an alumnus this case hit close to home.

"But it's because this is where we think Kristen has been this whole time. And so it's really like to show that the community has always had her in our hearts and in our minds, whether it's the billboard on the main drag or the purple ribbons all around, it really is so special to be here", said Alexis Collins Cal Poly Alumni.

A local who went to high school with Paul Flores said she and her friends experienced many questionable moments with Flores.

“So it's been very emotional. There's been a lot of tears today, but they're happy tears that he's put behind bars. He can't hurt another female. And our town will come together like we always do", said Cortney Childers who lives in Arroyo Grande.

Locals say they are happy with the verdict but won't feel closure for Smart until her body is found.

Article Topic Follows: San Luis Obispo County

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Christina Rodriguez


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