Kristin Smart vanished 26 years ago after walking right back toward the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo dormitories from a party.
Now pupil that is fellow Flores, last seen along with her that night, faces an endeavor for her murder beginning Monday with jury selection in another of California’s most well-known cold cases.
Smart’s disappearance plus the murder that is subsequent have haunted the Central Coast university community for decades, with billboards appealing for proof to convict her killer. Her body has never been discovered. But San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s detectives, after several years of searches and questioning, arrested Flores at their San Pedro home 12 months that is last his dad, Ruben, at his house in Arroyo Grande, Calif. Ruben Flores is charged with being an accessory to the crime for presumably moving your body.
A San Luis Obispo judge ordered the trial be moved 126 miles north to Monterey County to make certain a reasonable trial for the daddy and son after deciding there was enough evidence to try Paul Flores on fees of killing Smart during a rape or attempted rape in their dorm space. Paul Flores, 45, and Ruben Flores, 80, are going to be tried by separate juries, and the ones impaneled in each instance won’t hear the evidence that is exact same. Month the testimony isn’t likely to get underway until next. The trial is expected to last until October.
Some 1,520 Monterey County residents have received jury responsibility summons. The selection process started during the courthouse in Salinas monday. The jury pool is going to be whittled down seriously to 40 jurors, including alternates, for the 2 trials. Monterey County Judge Jennifer O’Keefe, who at 44 is one year more youthful than Smart might have been now, last week declined the defense solicitors’ effort to dismiss the truth for “outrageous government conduct.”
An jury that is substantial is employed to display jurors. Both edges in each case will be able to use 10 peremptory challenges to excuse a juror that is potential explanation. Once the juries make final decisions, the verdicts are going to be established at the time that is same. No movie or tracks are allowed throughout the procedures.
Paul Flores had been arrested in 2021, nearly 25 years after Smart vanished april. The 19-year-old ended up being last seen walking with him near residence halls after attending a ongoing party within the very early hours of might 25, 1996. Both were Cal Poly students during the time. Although Smart’s body has never been discovered, she ended up being legally declared dead in 2002.
The judge ruled there was sufficient evidence for Paul and Ruben Flores to be tried in September, after hearing 22 days of testimony. Prosecutors presented a case that is circumstantial the pair.
A prosecutor solicited testimony from witness Jennifer Hudson that Paul Flores admitted the crime to her in 1996 through the preliminary hearing.
“I’m done playing I put her away underneath my ramp,” Hudson testified that Flores told her along with her, and. But she didn’t tell anybody of these expressed terms for a long time and informed the lead investigator in case in 2019.
Smart had passed out at an event for just two hours in complete view of numerous, and two friends were holding her to walk her house when Flores “came out of the darkness” and repeatedly told one of these buddies he would safely get her home, Deputy Dist. Atty. Chris Peuvrelle has said.
Peuvrelle elicited testimony after many years of maintaining a number of the stays below a deck at his Arroyo Grande home which he said shows Ruben Flores concealed Smart’s body, eventually going it.
A geologist testified that in another of the holes dug at the house, there clearly was deficiencies in persistence in the soil that is sandy a “bathtub ring” along the medial side associated with wall, which she said had been a “good indicator” of an individual burial site whose contents were later eliminated. Another expert testified that materials recovered also could possibly be in keeping with the clothing Smart ended up being final seen using.
But Paul Flores’ attorney, Robert Sanger, stated those materials could be construction sequence that is red. This, the Monterey County judge ruled that two juries are needed because Paul Flores, during a June 19, 1996, interview with law enforcement, might have implicated Ruben Flores thirty days.
Throughout the hearing that is initial Paul Flores’ ex-girlfriend, identified as Angie Doe, said she when attempted to select an avocado from the backyard at his father’s house.
“I don’t keep in mind they redirected me personally away from the avocado trees,” she said if it was Mr. [Paul] Flores or Ruben, but. “They told me to come[the household around] and get away from that area.” A renter of the property told a story that is similar.
Sanger maintains “there had been no concept that is constant about where Smart’s body went and no evidence of exactly what happened to her. Throughout the hearing that is preliminary Sanger stated a former boyfriend had kept burned shoes on Smart’s doorstep.
Throughout the hearing, prosecutors had a testify that is classmate Paul Flores lied about a black eye he had reported to own gotten in a basketball game. Another woman testified she saw Flores hanging around Smart’s dormitory despite the fact that he claimed to have never ever been there.
Prosecutors also portrayed Flores as a predator that is serial “has raped many ladies, it’s hard to keep track.”
But at the hearing that is preliminary the judge barred testimony about other allegations of intimate assaults and drugging of females and rejected a relocate to include rape fees from 2011 and 2017 involving two ladies in l . a ..
The prosecutor argued that there is a nexus to the murder fee against Flores because, he said, Flores had a past reputation for raping ladies who had been intoxicated.
The defense will likely throw the lead detectives and a local true-crime podcast as focusing on Flores throughout the test. In a court that is recent to dismiss the way it is, Sanger argued that “disinformation” had been “purposely disseminated” by San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Det. Clint Cole to an podcast that is unnamed.
The podcast that is true-crime Own Backyard” is credited by authorities with reviving fascination with the Smart case and assisting determine potential new witnesses and avenues of investigation.
Sanger, in seeking to dismiss the entire situation, also challenged the conduct of this government and a search warrant it got for the cellphone of Flores’ mother, Susan Flores. That phone ended up being taken after authorities alleged she recorded a relative of a witness.
Since his arrest, Paul Flores has been held while Ruben Flores is free on bail with an ankle monitoring unit. Paul Flores had been utilized in the Monterey County prison whilst the judge heard 21 motions being pretrial.
The judge decided prosecutors could call Smart a target and Paul Flores and Ruben Flores as defendants in another of those motions.