NewsKristin Smart Case


Motions being heard again in Paul, Ruben Flores murder trial

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Posted at 9:27 AM, Jul 06, 2022

Paul and Ruben Flores were back in a Monterey County courtroom Wednesday where more motions were discussed ahead of the start of their trial.

The father and son, charged in connection with the 1996 disappearance of Cal Poly freshman Kristin Smart, sat next to each other with their individual attorneys seated on the outside.

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Paul and Ruben Flores sit next to their attorneys in court July 6, 2022

Paul’s attorney, Robert Sanger, started the day with laptop issues but Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe proceeded with requests anyway.

First on the list was a recording from January 2020 between Paul and his mother, Susan, where many topics were reportedly brought up, including a podcast about Kristin's disappearance.

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Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle during motion hearings July 6, 2022

San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle requested that the recording be admissible during the trial.

Sanger, who argued the podcast is factually incorrect and said his client has suffered his whole life because of these allegations, also questioned the significance. However, Judge O'Keefe said the statements would be admissible.

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Paul Flores' attorney Robert Sanger in court for motion hearings July 6, 2022

Another motion from the prosecution involved conversations between Paul and a detective on May 31, 1996 and June 19, 1996.

Judge O'Keefe said she will allow the interviews to be used as part of Paul's trial, but not Ruben's trial, and denied a supplemental motion submitted by Sanger regarding the seizures of electronic devices in 2020.

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Monterey Co. Superior Court Judge Jennifer O'Keefe during motion hearings July 6, 2022

Paul's defense argued searches were unlawful and warrants were based on “A Wild West approach,” meaning that law enforcement didn't do enough to investigate other potential suspects.

The People asked to deny this motion, arguing that over time, other suspects were eliminated due to a lack of evidence.

Judge O'Keefe stated that the defense failed to show malice or reckless omission and denied the motion.

The expert witness proposed by the defense to talk about cadaver dogs and their behavior was discussed extensively Wednesday.

After several hours of constant objections and visible frustration among the parties, Judge O'Keefe decided to revisit this zoologist's expertise Thursday at 8:30 a.m.

Opening statements are set to get underway July 18.

While Paul and Ruben are being tried at the same time, they will each have a separate jury.

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Paul and Ruben Flores in court for motion hearings July 6, 2022

Paul’s jury was selected near the end of June. He’s charged with murdering Smart, who was 19 when she disappeared.

Ruben, who is charged as an accessory, accused of helping hide Kristin’s body, is currently out of custody.

Jury selection for his case is set for July 11.

While Kristin has been declared legally dead, her body has never been found.

Paul was said to be the last person seen with Kristin on the Cal Poly campus.

He was a person-of-interest in the case for more than two decades prior to his April 2021 arrest.

Judge O’Keefe has indicated the trial will likely last into October.