Split verdict in Kristin Smart murder: Why Paul Flores was found guilty but not his dad
Kristin Smart, the 28-year-old California woman convicted of murdering her mother and grandmother with whom she lived, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday in Alameda County Superior Court. The verdict is unusual in California, where jurors are not required to vote unanimously.
Two of the jurors who convicted defendant Paul Flores of murder were unable to come to a unanimous decision on his guilt.
When jurors were asked to deliberate, the panel was split 2-2, so two jurors each had to vote “guilty” and “not guilty” on his guilt, which is a requirement in California’s “universal” jury system, which is also used in federal courts.
The jurors said that because they were confused when they were presented with the “convict only” charge, meaning that they didn’t have to agree on the same verdict, they were unable to reach a verdict.
According to reports, they had been asked by Judge Michael D. Azzary to consider the evidence that had been presented at jury selection. They had been told that there were two versions of what happened on Dec. 28, 2008. The prosecution and defense had presented three versions of events. One version said that Kristin, her mother and her grandmother were attacked at the couple’s home by a group of people – and that Flores was one of the attackers.
The jurors were also told that Kristin had reported that Paul had a history of abusing her physically. Prosecutors had countered with evidence suggesting that Paul had assaulted Kristin in the past.
But the two jurors who were unable to reach a unanimous decision in Flores’s favor told jurors that they were unable to reach a verdict because they could not decide which of two possible interpretations of the evidence they believed.
The panel was not required to go back and re-examine its verdict after jurors said they could not agree. The jurors told the court that they believed they had reached a verdict based on the evidence presented. But Judge Azzary refused to consider whether it was possible for the jury to have come to a unanimous decision even if they hadn’