NewsKristin Smart Case


Jurors in Kristin Smart murder trial shown video of early Paul Flores interview

Posted at 6:20 PM, Aug 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 01:41:03-04

A COVID-19 outbreak was reported Thursday among some participants in the Kristin Smart murder trial, but that didn't stop testimony from taking place.

The attention shifted over to Paul Flores as only his jury was inside the courtroom Thursday. Taking the witness stand first was former chief investigator at the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office William Hanley.

At the time of Kristin Smart's disappearance in 1996, Hanley was a senior investigator who says he interviewed Paul Flores on more than one occasion.

He has a 33-year history with the agency.

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Former DA investigator William Hanley testified in court Aug. 11, 2022

Hanley recalled his initial involvement with the Kristin Smart investigation started on May 31, 1996 when the DA's office was contacted by Cal Poly police to support them in the missing person case.

Hanley told the court that he called Paul and requested an interview, saying Paul agreed and showed up at the Cal Poly Police Department.

He then said he told Paul that "he was a witness we believe was the last person to see Kristin Smart alive."

Hanley says the interview started at the police department but there was too much noise so they took the interview to his car.

In chronological order, Hanley asked Paul what he did and where he went.

Former DA investigator William Hanley on the stand Aug. 11, 2022

He testified that Paul said that on Friday, May 24, 1996, he got off work, went to his dorm, played a game of pool, had dinner, two beers and plans to walk over to his sister's house.

Hanley said Paul told him he took a beer with him and came across the party on Crandall Way and also that a girl named Roxy - who some have previously testified was a name Kristin used - walked up to him and introduced herself.

Hanley said he asked Paul if Kristin was under the influence. Hanley says Paul's response was that she appeared to be intoxicated and that he went on to say that was the only contact he had with Kristin at the party.

Hanley continued his testimony, saying Paul had told him he walked outside around 2:30 a.m. and saw a girl from his stats class, identified as Cheryl Anderson, and Roxy.

Hanley said Paul described walking toward the dorms with Cheryl and Kristin and that during the walk, Kristin appeared to be cold, so Paul said he rubbed her shoulders once or twice to warm up.

“He told me it was not sexual in nature at all," Hanley testified.

He says he also questioned Paul about the route to the dorms, saying that Paul told him Cheryl took a right on Grand Avenue while he and Kristin took a left on Perimeter.

Hanley recalled asking Paul why he didn't make sure Kristin made it to her room safely if she seemed intoxicated.

Paul's attorney, Robert sanger, objected but the judge overruled it.

Hanley then continued, saying, “He (Paul) said he didn't even think about it."

San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle asked Hanley if he asked Paul what he did when he arrived to his dorm room.

Prosecutor Chris Peuvrelle hands a paper to William Hanley, who testified in court Aug. 11, 2022

Hanley said Paul told him he laid down on his bed and wasn't feeling well, so he threw up in his mouth, then went to the bathroom to throw up and went back to bed.

He says Paul also mentioned taking a shower.

Hanley continued with his testimony saying that Paul told him the last time he saw Kristin was when she was walking toward her dorm.

Peuvrelle showed a map to the court, which highlighted the route Paul took the investigators when retracing his steps that night.

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A map shown in court Aug. 11, 2022 which reportedly highlighted the route Paul took investigators when retracing his steps the night of Kristin Smart's disappearance.

Hanley said they asked him what he thought happened that night, saying Paul told them "he believed she was dead."

Hanley told the court he noted “under his right eye, bottom of it, a faint discoloration appeared to be the later stages of a black eye."

Hanley said Paul explained he was elbowed during a basketball game that Monday.

Hanley said they repeatedly asked Paul if he found Kristin attractive, something he says Paul denied and on one occasion told them he said he “wasn't attracted to those kind of girls, she was flirting with too many guys."

A 48-video exhibit was then played in the courtroom, detailing the interview between Hanley, his partner and Paul Flores on June 19, 1996 at the Arroyo Grande Police Department. Hanley said they felt the need to clarify inconsistent statements he says were made by Paul.

An early interview with Paul Flores shown in court Aug. 11, 2022

Hanley testified that the first couple minutes of the interview were not recorded because someone at the department did not hit the record button right away.

As the interview played, Hanley and Hobson could be seen pressing Paul to explain what really happened with his black eye. Paul eventually offered a third story, according to Hanley, saying that he hit his eye while installing a stereo in his truck.

In the video, investigators asked Paul why he kept lying and with growing frustration, Paul replied, "What's the big deal with white lies?"

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Court in session Aug. 11, 2022

Paul can be heard repeating he had gone out on Saturday night to watch a movie in Downtown San Luis Obispo and reassured investigators that no one saw him with a black eye on Saturday because he did not have a black eye that day.

Both Hanley and Hobson pushed the idea of a polygraph test. Paul said he needed to ask his parents first before taking the test.

The video ends with Paul saying, "I can't say anything I don't remember."

During cross examination, the defense pressed Hanley about his interviewing technique. Sanger also asked if Hanley and Hobson gave out false statements to get someone to confess. Hanley said yes, as long as “it wouldn't incite a false confession."

Court in session Aug. 11, 2022

Referencing the video recording, Sanger asked if some of the statements made by investigators were false. Hanley replied that there were some false statements.

Sanger asked Hanley about Paul's friend, Jeremy Moon, and the black eye incident.

Hanley said Jeremy was adamant he saw Paul with a black eye Sunday evening and also saw him Monday for a basketball game.

Sanger then asked Hanley, Paul Flores did not confess to the crime you wanted to? Hanley stated that was correct.

Before Hanley was excused from the witness stand, Sanger made it a point to mention how Paul was cooperative and polite with investigators during both interviews. Hanley agreed.

The recorded interview played in court Thursday between the investigators and Paul Flores appeared tough to watch for the family of Kristin Smart.

At one point, Kristin's father, Stan Smart, wrapped his arm around his wife, Denise, as they both listened to the exhibit.

Only Paul's jury was present in the courtroom Thursday. Paul and Ruben are being tried at the same time but they have separate juries who will hand down separate verdicts.

At times, like Thursday, one jury may not be present in court if evidence being presented is only admissible for one defendant's case.

Court is expected to resume again Friday morning.