A self-described Satanist California inmate, who choked the “I-5 Strangler” to death in his jail cell, allegedly attacked Kristin Smart’s killer in prison and left him in critical condition.
Jason Budrow is suspected of beating Paul Flores in a morning assault on Aug. 23, a week after Flores was transferred to the Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, California, about 60 miles southwest of Fresno.
“Yard staff saw Flores fall to the ground between the recreational yard and the medical clinic,” the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) said in an email.
“Suspect Jason Budrow was discovered nearby with a manufactured weapon. He surrendered to staff without incident.”
Jason Budrow, who murdered the “I-5” strangler in jail, allegedly attacked Kristin Smart’s killer, Paul Flores, in prison. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)
Flores was rushed to an outside hospital in serious condition, where he stayed for two days before returning to prison, according to CDCR.
The CDCR declined to answer questions about the attack, how Budrow got access to Flores or where Budrow and Flores are currently being housed, and authorities haven’t said what motivated the ambush.
“CDCR is limited in the amount of information it can provide on incarcerated people’s housing for safety and security reasons,” the department said in a statement.
Flores is serving a 25-to-life sentence for murdering 19-year-old Smart in 1996, when they were both students at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Kristin Smart is the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, student who disappeared in 1996. (FBI via AP)
Paul Flores is shown during his murder trial in Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas, California, on July 18, 2022. Flores was convicted of murdering Kristin Smart. (Daniel Dreifuss / Monterey County Weekly via AP / Pool)
He was convicted in the decades-old cold case earlier this year, even though Smart’s body was never found. She was declared legally dead in 2002.
Budrow was serving life without parole for fatally strangling his girlfriend in 2010 when he killed his Mule Creek State Prison cellmate – Roger Reece Kibbe, 81 – in 2021.
Kibbe was known as the “I-5 Strangler” in the 1970s and 1980s because he hunted women along the Interstate 5 corridor between Sacramento and Stockton.
He raped and strangled at least seven women and was known for cutting his victims’ clothing into irregular patterns.
Roger Reece Kibbe – dubbed the “I-5 Strangler” in the 1970s and 1980s – raped and strangled at least seven women. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)
Kristin Smart disappeared on May 25, 1996, while attending California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. (Axel Koester / Sygma via Getty Images)
Budrow said he purposely arranged to get a cell with Kibbe after seeing the TV coverage and killed him because he was on “a mission for avenging” Kibbe’s victims in a letter to the San Jose Mercury News.
After the in-prison murder, Budrow was reportedly placed in restrictive housing in Pleasant Valley State Prison, which is reserved for prisoners who “may pose a risk to others or to themselves, or whose behavior disrupts the safe and orderly functioning of the facility,” according to the corrections department.
Budrow described himself as a Satanist in jailhouse interviews and sports a “666” tattoo over his right eye.
The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office will have the final say if it will charge Budrow, who’s currently serving two life sentences.