Paul Flores is guilty of killing and burying Kristin Smart 26 years ago

Paul Flores is guilty of killing and burying Kristin Smart 26 years ago

Kristin Smart was last seen on May 25, 1996 after a party off-campus with Paul Flores.

Kristin Smart was last seen on May 25, 1996 with Paul Flores, who walked the 19-year-old to her dorm at California Polytechnic State University after a party off-campus
Lawyers representing a California man accused of killing a fellow student 26 years ago say the case is built on hearsay and supposition, without evidence.

Paul Flores, 45, is accused of killing Kristin Smart, 19, during an attempted rape and burying her body with his father. Prosecutors on Monday called him ‘guilty as sin’

Smart disappeared in May 1996 following an off-campus party with Paul Flores.

After endless delays and two months of testimony, the July trial was nearing a verdict on Monday.

Paul Flores’ final comments were heard in Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas, California, while his father Ruben Flores’ will be heard Tuesday.

Paul Flores’ murder trial. He denies killing Smart.

Paul Flores, 45, is accused of rape-related homicide. Ruben Flores, 81, is charged as an accessory.

Paul Flores’ attorney Robert Sanger speaks in court on August 3.

Flores’ father, now 81, allegedly helped bury the student behind his home in Arroyo Grande and then transferred the bones.

He’s an accomplice.Paul Flores is pictured in court during his murder trial. He has denied killing Kristin Smart

Both men are innocent.

Flores lacked self-defense testimony.

Judge Jennifer O’Keefe told the jury Monday to ignore that.

She said, “Don’t consider that the defendant didn’t testify.”

“Don’t debate that.”

Flores wore a mask, suit, and tie as his parents Ruben and Susan watched from the gallery.

Smart’s friends and family were in the courtroom gallery and overflow courtroom when the judge explained Flores’ charges, which included murder with malice, rape, and sodomy by force.

Police suspect she was buried beneath the Flores’ deck for years. 2002 marked her death.Paul Flores, now 45, is charged with murder in the commission of a rape or attempted rapeRuben Flores, now 81, is charged with accessory after the fact

From 1996 disappearance to 2022 murder trial

May 1996

Stockton, California’s Kristin Smart, 19, disappeared.
Cal Poly freshman last spotted around 2 a.m. after an off-campus party in San Luis Obispo on May 25.
Her classmate Paul Flores walked her home from the celebration.
Cal Poly police reported Smart missing on May 28.
Prosecutors said Flores killed Smart in his dorm room while trying to rape her.

2006-08

Search dogs take investigators to Paul Flores’ dorm.
The trained canines alerted to a mattress corner on Flores’ side of the room.

May 2002

Legally dead, Smart. Her family vowed revenge.Robert Sanger, Paul Flores's attorney, is seen speaking on August 3 during the trial

2011

Ian Parkinson is the next sheriff.
He asked for a full review of Kristin Smart’s case.

2016

Officials excavate a Cal Poly campus hillside and deploy cadaver dogs to seek for Smart’s remains.
Sheriff’s spokesman: Investigators found ‘things of interest’

2019

New testimony led detectives to get a court order to monitor Paul Flores’ phone.Paul Flores listens during opening statements in his murder trial on July 18 in Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas, Calif. He's accused of killing Kristin Smart in 1996

2019-09

Chris Lambert’s podcast ‘Your Own Backyard’ revived the argument.
Sheriff Ian Parkinson complimented him for bringing attention to the situation.

2020-02

Paul Flores gets four search warrants.
The warrants were served in San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles County, and Washington.
The warrants were for particular things, investigators said.

2020-04

Detectives served an extra search warrant at Paul’s house based on earlier evidence.
Officials found murder evidence throughout the hunt.

2021-03

Ruben Flores’ 80-year-old Arroyo Grande home has been searched.
The home was searched using cadaver dogs and GPR.

2021-04

Paul and Ruben Flores were arrested for Smart’s murder.
Paul Flores, a longtime suspect in Smart’s disappearance, is the main suspect.
2021-04-14

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow said Smart was killed in Paul Flores’ dorm room and his father helped hide her body.

2021-04-19

Paul and Ruben Flores are charged with Smart’s disappearance.

July 18, 2022

Beginning remarks.
Paul and Ruben Flores are being tried simultaneously with separate juries.

2022-10-3

After three months of testimony and delays, closing arguments began Monday in Salinas, California.
Monday is Paul Flores’ closing argument day; Tuesday is Ruben Flores’.
Jurors head to deliberation after closing arguments.
Whichever jury finishes first will give their verdict to the clerk.
We’ll read each verdict individually.

Paul Flores’ attorney, Robert Sanger, claimed Monday there was no evidence against his client and the case was founded on gossip.

“Conspiracies are entertaining. Sanger loves them.

We watch shows and think, “I bet I know what happened.”

“You’re jurors. You swore to follow law.’

Sanger questioned witness memories, noting that Smart died 26 years ago.

Sanger claimed the prosecution’s case was not to exhibit evidence, but rather to elicit emotional prejudice against Paul Flores by using terms like ‘guilty as sin’ and witness testimony that Flores called Smart a ‘d*** tease.’

He answered, ‘The prosecution’s and my beliefs are irrelevant; you must look at the facts.’

Sanger said the case’s prominence and substantial local and national press coverage are ‘the elephant in the room.’

Sanger: ‘This affected testimony’

He also sought to discredit Smart’s innocence by calling her wild.

‘It’d be wonderful to think everything was fine and she was angelic, but she engaged in risky behavior, and you have to evaluate how that affected events,’ he said.

‘Your task is simple. Sanger directed the jury to decide beyond a reasonable doubt if a murder was committed.

“No, it wasn’t,”

Sanger will finish Tuesday.

Christopher Peuvrelle, assistant district attorney, told jurors that Paul Flores ‘hunted’ Smart for months before her murder and was ‘guilty as sin’

He said Paul Flores and his father didn’t join the community search.

“Now you know,” Peuvrelle remarked.

She was on their deck.

Heaven and Earth were moved to find her. Paul and Ruben concealed her under their deck.

Peuvrelle requested the court to ignore the 26 years it took to gather evidence and pursue charges.

Justice delayed isn’t always justice denied. Truth is known. He declared the truth.

Paul Flores kidnapped Kristin.

Bedroom crimes have no witnesses. GPR, an archeologist, and a lab supervisor tell us what Kristin couldn’t. In this scenario, we only have her blood. Bloody sand.

The Smarts have nothing left of their daughter. ‘Sarah Doe’ and ‘Rhonda Doe’ speak for Kristin. Raped. Kristin’s words. You can find him guilty.’

Peuvrelle’s closing arguments will be followed by Paul Flores’ attorney Robert Sanger’s.

Paul Flores and his father were arrested in 2021 after the inquiry was reopened.

Archaeologist Cindy Arrington told jurors last month that while no body was found when they dug up Paul Flores’ home, human decomposition stains suggest a person was buried there at some point.

She claimed the body was likely wrapped in a tarp, casket, or sack, a grisly revelation that brought one juror to tears.

Investigators believe Flores and his father Ruben relocated the body when police closed in on them last year, spurred by a popular podcast called Your Own Backyard.

Sheriff Ian Parkinson admitted detectives’ errors over the years and thanked the podcast with unearthing new evidence and inspiring witnesses to speak with police.

Archaeologist Cindy Arrington testified Friday.

First, we check the surface for disturbances. We carefully remove the earth,’ she added.

‘One of the first things [in a funeral] is a stain. Liquids spread and stain remains.

In March 2021, police hired Arrington’s business to excavate the Flores home.

She described it as a’soil disturbance’

She said, ‘I saw discoloration on the hole’s walls.

‘Soil was removed and replaced. Disorganized continuity. It shows an earlier hole. The bowl-shaped staining was ruined. Disturbed soil’

She spotted the disruption 2ft below ground level and stated someone excavated ‘by hand.’

No mechanicals. Hand-dug, she said.

When Kristin disappeared in 1996, Paul and she were Cal Poly freshmen.

0.2 miles separate Santa Maria Hall and Muir Hall, a four-minute walk.

No human bones showed ‘the body was encased in something,’ she added. Coffin, tarp, bag.

Decomposing fluid was leaking. The dirt inside and outside an irregular pattern is darker.

‘Fluid drained slowly into the soil over time, not fast,’ she remarked.

In the past two years, investigators have focused on Ruben Flores’ residence in Arroyo Grande, 12 miles south of Cal Poly.

Archaeologists working for police in March 2021 uncovered a casket-sized earth disturbance and human blood under his deck, prosecutors said.

DNA couldn’t be extracted from damaged blood. While a blood expert said it was human blood, the test did not rule out the chance it was from a ferret or primate, but court papers showed no such remains were located.

Paul Flores listens to opening comments on July 18 in Salinas, Calif. Kristin Smart was killed in 1996.

Paul Flores and his father were arrested in 2021 after the inquiry was reopened. He’s arrested on April 13, 2021.

Archaeologists working for police in March 2021 uncovered a casket-sized earth disturbance and human blood under his deck, prosecutors said.

Paul Flores’ father, Ruben Flores, 81, lives in Arroyo Grande.

James Murphy Jr., who sued the father and son for Smart’s parents, said it was human blood.

Murphy: ‘The enormity of the blood spot makes it a Jurassic Park ferret’

When did you last see a primate on Arroyo Grande’s Tally Ho Road?

Murphy sued Ruben Flores, claiming he and unknown accomplices moved the body ‘under cover of darkness’ four days after investigators investigated his home in February 2020.

After a year, investigators dug under the deck.

In July, San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle told the court that as the community searched for Kristin, Paul and Ruben Flores did not.

Ruben Flores tore down missing posters of Kristin, ripped off her smiling face, and called her a ‘filthy sl**’ while her corpse decomposed under his deck.

A taped discussion between Paul and Susan Flores was played at trial.

The mother instructs her son to tell her where to ‘punch holes’ in the ‘Your Own Backyard’ podcast because ‘only you can.’

The 2020 podcast helped promote the argument.

Paul Flores walked Smart home from an off-campus party on May 25, 1996.

Flores minimized his encounters with her when he spoke with police three days later, stating she walked to her room on her own. Other witnesses stated she had passed out earlier in the night and Flores helped keep her up as they walked back to school.

Investigators interviewed Flores with a black eye. According to court records, he said he got it playing basketball with pals. He later said he hit his head working on his automobile.

Prosecutors provided evidence that four cadaver dogs detected death near Flores’ bed.

Court documents say women nicknamed him ‘Chester the molester’ and ‘crazy Paul’

In court, Smart’s disappearance and murder revealed a saddened community.

Denise Smart said local police and Polytechnic State University officials failed to find her daughter, causing the family to hunt for 25 years.

Denise testified at her daughter’s murder trial in July and stated, ‘I felt like my daughter’s life had no worth except to her family.’

CBS Sacramento stated, “For the following 25 years, I did anything I could to get answers.”

Denise called police after Kristin didn’t call on May 26. Kristin called home weekly, she said.

Kristin called her parents with wonderful news. They never knew.

Denise called the college president, but a residential advisor refused to release any information concerning Kristin on ‘privacy’ grounds.

A local sheriff told Denise he had no power over the college campus.

Police reported her missing four days after she disappeared.

Denise showed the court her last letter to Kristin, dated May 5, in which she warned her not to be financially irresponsible.

She told her kid to ‘get on track’ and to ‘buckle up, buttercup.’

Denise said, “I never anticipated that would be my last letter to my daughter.”

Denise Smart Stewart is photographed with Kristin’s father Stan, brother Matt, and sister Lindsey after her abduction (left)

A Smart sign. Your Own Back Yard’s coverage of her case helped bring charges against the Flores men.

Paul Flores, 19, in a 1996 arrest photo.

Crystal Teschendorf, Kristin Smart’s former roommate, said police didn’t take her seriously when she reported her missing twice.

Teschendorf and other dorm mates called authorities two days after Smart didn’t return to her room and two days later after she missed class, KSBY said.

Teschendorf claimed the worried pupils discussed probable reasons why she wouldn’t return. We found it odd.

After her second call on the fourth day of Smart’s disappearance, police filed a missing persons complaint, she said.

Smart was last seen by Paul, who is facing murder charges for allegedly raping or attempting to rape the 19-year-old.

Teschendorf said Smart was in a ‘nice mood’ when they separated on May 24.

Teschendorf returned to their room to find Smart’s keys and stuff untouched and her roommate missing.

Teschendorf said it was surprising because Smart generally told her if she was leaving the hostel.

Former roommate Crystal Teschendorf stated she and other students phoned police twice on May 24, 1996.

Kristin Smart’s room was left untouched after she disappeared. A friend said he spotted Paul Flores pestering Smart.

Teschendorf and the other dorm girls were anxious when they didn’t hear from Smart and called police on May 26.

Teschendorf said neither she nor Smart drank alcohol before Smart’s disappearance when cross-examined by Paul’s attorney Robert Sanger.

Two juries will hear the men’s closing remarks after months of testimony.

Monday is Paul Flores’s closing argument day. On Tuesday, a separate jury will hear Ruben Flores’ closing arguments.

The court stated last week that jurors will begin deliberations following closing arguments.

If statements last all day, jurors will deliberate the next day.

Whichever jury finishes deliberations first will seal and hand over their decision. The court told jurors not to discuss the case or verdict.

The first panel will have 40 minutes to arrive at the courthouse once the second jury reaches a verdict.

Each verdict will be read then.

»Paul Flores is guilty of killing and burying Kristin Smart 26 years ago«

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