NewsKristin Smart Case


Defense wants soil sample evidence excluded from Kristin Smart murder trial

Posted at 8:53 PM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-09 00:12:36-04

Paul and Ruben Flores were back in court Friday, sitting side-by-side for more pre-trial motions as four of Kristin Smart’s family members filled a row of seats on the opposite side of the courtroom.

Most of the day was spent discussing soil samples taken from Ruben Flores's home in Arroyo Grande as well as DNA samples from a mattress cover found at Paul's Cal Poly dorm.

The defense has filed a motion to keep this evidence from being admitted during the trial.

Several people were called to the stand Friday.

Forensic archaeologist Cindy Arrington testified about staining discovered on the soil on Ruben's property, saying from a visual standpoint, she cannot say whether it was an animal or human that caused this staining or how old the stain is.

Arrington said at some point, the area being analyzed was dug up twice and the soil was put back in place.

Dr. David Carter, a forensic science professor based in Honolulu, then took the stand. He is an expert in the decomposition of pig carcasses in soil and said this is the "closest in size to a human" when access to human remains is absent.

Dr. Carter said he sent investigators to collect 12 new soil samples from Ruben's home earlier this year. The prosecution questioned his method of this collection, saying he did not visually see how the samples were collected and also argued that humans are not equivalent to pigs.

In the afternoon, the defense called another forensic scientist, Angie Butler, to the stand to review certain test results, but court ended for the day before she was finished.

Jury selection for Ruben’s case is set for Monday, so pre-trial motion hearings and Butler’s testimony are scheduled to resume Thursday morning.

Once all witnesses and experts have been called, Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe will decide whether or not the evidence the defense wants left out can be presented at trial.

Paul is charged with murder in connection with the disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart in 1996. His father, Ruben, is charged as an accessory, accused of helping hide her body, which has never been found.

The trial was moved out of San Luis Obispo County and is taking place in Salinas. It's expected to last into at least October.