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Week 4 of preliminary hearing for Paul, Ruben Flores kicks off with testimony from former investigator

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Posted at 8:29 AM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-23 22:35:21-04

UPDATE - Retired San Luis Obispo County Deputy Sheriff Henry Stewart took the stand Monday morning in the preliminary hearing for Paul and Ruben Flores.

The two men are charged in connection with the 1996 disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart.

Stewart testified about an interview he conducted in July of 1996 with Jana Schrock, a friend of Kristin's roommate, Crystal.

Schrock reportedly stayed in Crystal and Kristin's room the night of May 24-25 when Kristin disappeared. Stewart testified that Schrock told him she was alone in the room until an acquaintance named "Ted" showed up and stayed with her until about 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.

During cross-examination, Stewart said he did not get involved in the case until about a month after Kristin’s disappearance.

Stewart says on June 26, 1996, they went to Paul Flores’s former dorm room.

The room was empty with only beds inside, according to Stewart, who testified that he found a strand of brown hair under the edge of a mattress in the room.

He says it was booked into evidence the same day. It was not revealed in court whether it was ever determined to whom the hair belonged.

Stewart discussed others he interviewed regarding the night Kristin went missing. None, according to Stewart, seemed to know where Kristin went, but Tim Davis reportedly told the detective that he saw Kristin at a party on Crandall Way.

When asked what he thought happened to Kristin, Davis reportedly told Stewart, he "thinks she got in a car with some strange guy.”

Stewart says a search warrant was served at a home on White Court in Arroyo Grande on July 15, 1996.

Paul Flores was reportedly interviewed at the time and his room was searched.

The FBI also started conducting surveillance on Paul. Stewart testified that after Paul was arrested for a probation violation in 2002, he ended up being booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail.

Stewart says an "agent" was sent into the jail in hopes of becoming friends with Paul. Stewart did not say whether the informant was able to get any information from Paul about the Kristin Smart case.

In court, Paul’s attorney, Robert Sanger, argued that for 25 years, Paul has said the same thing, insisting that the night of Kristin’s disappearance, Paul went to his dorm and Kristin went to hers.

Stewart says he tried to interview Paul a number of times, but Paul always told him, "I have nothing to say. Talk to my lawyer."

Court is set to resume Wednesday with testimony from District Attorney Investigator JT Camp.

Attorneys are expected to continue working through discovery on Tuesday. Discovery is the process in which the two sides collect and exchange information about evidence and witnesses in the case.

Also on Wednesday, a hearing is scheduled to consider the defense's motion to disqualify the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office from prosecuting the case.
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ORIGINAL STORY - The preliminary hearing for Paul and Ruben Flores picks up again Monday morning.

It’s week four of the hearing.

Paul and Ruben were arrested in April and charged in connection with the death and disappearance of Kristin Smart, who disappeared from the Cal Poly campus in 1996 and has never been found.

This week, more witnesses are expected to testify, including detectives and investigators.

Prosecutor Christopher Peuvrelle says he is optimistic that the preliminary hearing will wrap up by Sept. 3.