FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A man accused of a jailhouse attack on the convicted killer of California college student Kristin Smart pleaded not guilty Monday to attempted murder.
Jason Budrow, 43, entered his plea in Fresno County Superior Court to four felony charges, including using a prison-made deadly weapon and assault by an inmate serving a life sentence, Scripps News San Luis Obispo reported.
Prosecutors say Budrow slashed Paul Flores in the neck last Aug. 23 in the yard at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga in central California.
Flores was hospitalized but returned to the prison two days later. Authorities haven’t mentioned a possible motive for the attack.
Flores was serving a sentence of 25 years to life for the murder of Smart, a 19-year-old who disappeared from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo over Memorial Day weekend in 1996.
Prosecutors maintained that Flores killed Smart during an attempted rape in his dorm room at the university, where both were first-year students. He was the last person seen with Smart as he walked her home from an off-campus party.
Her body was never found.
Flores was arrested in 2021, convicted in 2022 and sentenced last March.
Budrow is serving two life terms without chance of parole for strangling a girlfriend in 2010 in Riverside County and the 2021 strangling of his new cellmate at Mule Creek State Prison, serial killer Roger Reece Kibbe, who was known as the I-5 Strangler in the 1970s and 1980s.
Kibbe raped and killed at least seven women — several of them in the Sacramento and Stockton areas along Interstate 5 — and cut his victims’ clothing into odd patterns.
If convicted on the new charges, Budrow could receive an additional sentence of 27 years to life in prison. Prosecutors previously said they would not pursue the death penalty in this case.