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Paul Flores' attorney files for new trial in Kristin Smart murder case

Paul Flores again 8-15.JPG
Posted at 3:10 PM, Feb 28, 2023

Just two weeks before Paul Flores is scheduled to be sentenced for the murder of Kristin Smart, his attorney filed a set of motions seeking to throw out Flores' guilty verdict.

In October, a jury convicted Flores of Smart's murder more than 25 years after her disappearance from the Cal Poly campus.

Flores is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday, March 10. He faces 25 years to life in prison.

One of the motions filed by attorney Robert Sanger requests an acquittal and dismissal of charges, "...on the grounds that a rational trier of fact could not find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt based on the state of the evidence at the conclusion of the trial..."

Another requests a new trial, claiming "...prosecutorial errors and the admission of junk science as evidence..." and that there was insufficient evidence to find Flores guilty. The motion also claims the verdict "...was based on a violation of the defendant's constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial..."

In the court filing, which was submitted to the Monterey County Superior Court on Friday, Feb. 24, just a few minutes before 5 p.m., Sanger goes on to claim that the prosecution mislead the jury and manipulated flawed evidence to obtain a conviction.

"There is a reason that a case against Paul Flores was not brought for 25 years," the motion reads. "There was no evidence of a murder or that Paul Flores committed it."

Smart's body has never been found. However, she was declared legally dead in 2002.

Several witnesses testified that Flores was the last person to be seen with Smart as they walked back to the Cal Poly dorms following an off-campus party on May 25, 1996.

Prosecutors argued that Flores killed Smart while trying to rape her. Cadaver dog handlers testified during the trial that their dogs independently alerted to Flores' dorm room during a search of the campus following Smart's disappearance.

Flores' father, Ruben, was charged as an accessory but was acquitted by a separate jury. Prosecutors alleged that Ruben Flores helped his son hide Smart's body.

KSBY News reached out to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office for comment on the motion. District Attorney Dan Dow said, "Our responses will only be in writing and submitted to the Court and defense counsel."

The court filings request that the motions be heard at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 10.