A woman who claims Paul Flores sexually assaulted her in 2008 took the stand Wednesday in the Kristin Smart murder trial.
It was the first day court has been in session since last Tuesday.
The woman, identified only as “Rhonda Doe,” never reported the incident until last year when she says she saw media coverage of Paul Flores’ arrest and recognized him as the person who she says drugged and then assaulted her.
Doe testified that she met Paul at a bar in Redondo Beach in January of 2008. She and some friends were headed to her house after a night out when she says Paul rode up on his bicycle.
She agreed to briefly go to his house before the two re-joined her friends.
Doe testified once they got to Paul’s house, he gave her some water and that’s when she blacked out.
She says when she woke up, Paul was having non-consensual sex with her. Doe says she only remembers brief moments of the encounter while she was in and out of consciousness. She later remembers waking up crying beside his bed and asking Paul to take her home, which she says he did.
San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle asked Doe why she didn’t report the incident at the time and she told him she didn’t think it would be prosecuted and didn’t “see the point.”
She did, however, call authorities in 2021 after seeing a news report about Paul’s arrest in connection with the Kristin Smart case.
Doe says she initially felt like she couldn’t breathe when she recognized him as the person who she met at the bar.
During cross examination, Paul’s attorney, Robert Sanger, asked Doe why she didn’t tell investigators that she attended Cal Poly during the time Kristin went missing. Doe was a student at the University for the 1995/96 school year and part of the following year and lived in Grover Beach.
Doe said she did tell investigators, but back in 1996, she only knew that Kristin was missing and didn’t know anything about Paul being a person of interest.
Sanger also asked if Doe was able to identify Paul out of a photo line-up with 100% certainly. While she did identify Paul from the six photos she was shown, she admitted she wasn’t sure at the time it was him.
Jurors also submitted questions for the witness. They wanted to know what the two talked about while they walked from the bar to his house and what his demeanor was at the time.
Doe says she didn’t think they had much in common and talked about a Lakers game she attended. She described him as polite and acting normally.
Ruben’s attorney, Harold Mesick, declined to ask the witness any questions.
San Luis Obispo County District Attorney investigator JT Camp was next to testify Wednesday, answering questions about his interview with Doe and showed several pictures of Paul’s house at the time and the bar.
Sanger pressed Investigator Camp about the interview with “Rhonda Doe” asking Camp about how he came up with the five other photos to use in the line-up, inconsistencies in the testimony about how far Paul’s house was away from the bar and why he didn’t show Doe any other houses besides Paul’s.
Sanger also referred to the “other person involved” instead of referring to Paul during some of the questioning.
Court ended early Wednesday with the judge meeting with several jurors about potential days off and conflicts. The outcome of the discussions was not made public.
Testimony is expected to resume Thursday morning.
Paul and Ruben Flores are on trial for the murder of Kristin Smart, who disappeared from the Cal Poly campus in May 1996 after attending an off-campus party.
Paul is charged with her murder. His father, Ruben, is charged with accessory after the fact, accused of helping hide the body.
The pair are being tried together but each have separate juries who will ultimately hand down separate verdicts.
Over the course of the trial, there will be times when one jury may not be present in the courtroom as testimony or evidence being presented only pertains to one defendant’s case.
The trial was moved out of San Luis Obispo County and is taking Place in Salinas.
If convicted, Paul faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Ruben faces a maximum sentence of three years in jail.