NewsKristin Smart Case


Evidence from the Kristin Smart murder trial just released

One of the items showed only in the courtroom was an an interview at the Arroyo Grande Police Department on June 19, 1996. Former DA investigator William Hanley on the left and on the right his partner Larry Hobson questioned a young Paul Flores.
Posted at 6:28 PM, Mar 06, 2023

KSBY News has obtained many pieces of evidence shared during the trial of Paul and Ruben Flores — evidence that, until recently, the Monterey County Superior Court said would not be made available until after sentencing.

In October 2022, Paul Flores was convicted of the murder of Kristin Smart. His father, Ruben, was acquitted of being an accessory to the crime.

Smart, a Cal Poly freshman, disappeared in May 1996 after attending an off-campus party. Several witnesses said Paul Flores was the last person seen walking with her back to the dorms.

One of the items showed only in the courtroom during the trial was an interview at the Arroyo Grande Police Department on June 19, 1996.

William Hanley and Larry Hobson, investigators with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office, questioned a young Paul Flores.

“Paul, is there anything else that you told us that you didn’t think it was a big deal?” Hobson asked.

Paul responded, "No."

“It’s not a big deal if you haven’t told us the truth,” Hobson added.

Paul gave another “no” response.

“How do we know that?” Hobson questioned.

“Take my word for it, I guess,” Flores responded.

In that conversation, Flores was questioned many times about how he got a black eye.

“Why was it so hard for you to tell us that you got that black eye hitting the steering wheel?” Hobson asked.

“It didn't really matter,” Flores said.

“What do you mean it didn’t matter?” Hobson questioned.

“It was days later,” Flores said.

“If it didn't matter, then why did you lie about it?”

“Why does it matter if I leave out little details?” Flores responded.

This 48-minute video is one of the many items just released by the Monterey County Superior Courthouse following Paul and Ruben Flores’ months-long trial.

“You're not acknowledging any of this ever happened, and yet all these other people are telling us it did happen,” Hobson said in recorded interview.

“I guess I had a blackout at that time […] but I remember her walking away though,” Flores said.

The trial evidence also includes photos of Kristin Smart’s belongings found in her dorm, a handwritten letter from Denise Smart to her daughter in 1996, and dirt samples taken from Ruben Flores’ home on White Court in Arroyo Grande.

There was a wiretap recording of a phone call between Paul and his mother, Susan Flores, on Jan. 26, 2020.

It was played in court during the trial but due to limitations by the judge, only still photography was allowed, meaning only those in the courtroom could hear the recording firsthand.

“The other thing I need you to do is to start listening to the podcast. I need you to listen to everything they say so we could punch holes in it wherever we can punch holes,” Susan said to Paul. “Maybe we can’t, you're the one that can tell me. ”

There is also an audio recording from May 19, 2021, when San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Detective Clint Cole collected DNA samples from Ruben Flores, Susan Flores, and her boyfriend.

“Well, they [Susan and her boyfriend] haven't committed no felonies […] I mean, I'm only the one. I've been arrested,” Ruben Flores said.

And, an initial interview with Paul Flores and Cal Poly Police Investigators Mike Kennedy and Robert Cudworth on May 30, 1996.

“What did she say? Do you remember any of the conversations you had walking up the hill?” questioned police.

“No, only that she was freezing,” Flores responded.

“Was there any talk of, you know, getting together?” police asked.

“No, no. Nothing at all like that,” Flores said.

Included in the evidence files are photos of the home where the off-campus party Kristin Smart attended took place and a map outlining Kristin’s walk back to campus that night.

Paul Flores is currently in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail awaiting sentencing this Friday. 

He’s facing 25 years to life behind bars.