After no court proceedings Tuesday due to a juror issue, the trial for Paul and Ruben Flores, who are charged in connection with the disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart, continued Wednesday.
After another alternate was sworn in to sit on Paul Flores’ jury, a Cal Poly police detective in 1996 took the stand. He was one of the first law enforcement officials to interview Paul following the disappearance of Kristin Smart.
Lawrence Kennedy testified that he interviewed Paul around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 1996. Audio of that interview was played in court Wednesday.
In the recording, Kennedy asked Paul how he got to the party on Friday, May 24, 1996. Paul said he was planning to see his sister who lived off-campus with her fiancé at the time, but when he saw people having a party at a residence he had attended a party at a couple months prior, he went inside.
Paul said he had been drinking in the dorms before leaving and was “feeling the effects” of the alcohol. Kennedy and another detective asked how Paul ended up with Kristin that night. Paul said that he wasn’t sure, but he said that he and a girl that went by the name of “Roxy” left the party at the same time.
While they walked together, Paul said Roxy was fine and walking on her own. Paul said he gave her two hugs because she was cold but says he doesn’t remember what they talked about.
Later in the interview with Detective Kennedy, Paul said that he didn’t put his arm around her or help her in a physical nature.
During the interview, Kennedy noticed Paul had scabs on his knees and a black eye and asked him about it. Paul said he got the black eye playing basketball with his friend Jeremy and two other guys. Paul also added that his friend, Javier, saw him on Saturday without a black eye.
Throughout the interview, Kennedy is heard asking Paul several times whether everything he was saying was the truth. Paul responded each time that he was.
Ruben’s attorney, Harold Mesick, questioned Kennedy regarding calls received of possible sightings of Kristin in the months following her disappearance, including one in Cayucos and several from Taco Bell restaurants scattered around the state.
Kennedy said that none of the calls turned out to be credible.
Wednesday afternoon, Robert Cudworth, a Cal Poly Police officer in1996, took the stand and fielded questions regarding interviews he conducted on the case in the summer of 1996.
The finally person called to the stand Wednesday was Richard Neufeld, who worked as a San Luis Obispo County sheriff's detective in 1996. He took questions regarding a forensics search of Paul’s dorm room.
Court proceedings are set to continue Thursday morning in Monterey County, but only Paul’s jury and alternates will be present. Ruben’s jury will have the day off.
While Paul and Ruben Flores are being tried at the time, they each have separate juries, who will hand down separate verdicts. At times, one jury may be removed from the courtroom if evidence or testimony being presented is only admissible for one defendant.
While Kristin's body has never been found, she was declared legally dead in 2002.
Paul is facing a charge of murder. Ruben is charged with accessory after the fact, accused of helping cover up the crime.