NewsKristin Smart Case


Preliminary hearing for Paul, Ruben Flores continues Friday; judge denies a motion from the prosecution

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Posted at 8:30 AM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-21 01:43:13-04

UPDATE - The preliminary hearing for Paul and Ruben Flores, the two men charged in connection with the 1996 disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart, resumed Friday with a motion by the prosecution.

San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle argued that other alleged sexual assaults he said were committed by Paul Flores are relevant to the Smart case.

He discussed several instances in which Flores allegedly drugged and raped other women both before and after Smart's disappearance.

Peuvrelle said there was the same MO in each of these cases, so that's why it's relevant.

He also brought up a rape fantasy porn video that was allegedly found in a search of Paul's home. He said it showed someone breaking into a house, putting a cloth over a victim, tying her up, and raping her.

The prosecutor said the same thing happened with Smart, and it's relevant to prove the attempted rape and MO in this case.

Paul's attorney, Robert Sanger, said there's no evidence of an actual crime in the Smart case. He argued that propensity character evidence has to pertain to something specific and in this case, he said, there is no crime and it has nothing to do with murder.

Sanger went on to say the MO Peuvrelle described is way overboard and salacious.

Judge Craig van Rooyen went on record to say that during the preliminary hearing, he'll decide whether there is probable cause to believe that Flores committed murder, not rape.

He ultimately denied the motion, saying it's not the proper use for this evidence.

This means the prosecution will not be able to use evidence of the alleged home video, pornography, and rape fantasy porn for purposes of the preliminary hearing.

Testimony in the preliminary hearing was scheduled to resume after the lunch recess.

William Hanley

William Hanley, a retired chief district attorney investigator for San Luis Obispo County, took the witness stand at 1:40 p.m.

He testified that in May of 1996, he was assigned to investigate the missing person case of Kristin Smart.

He interviewed Paul Flores on May 31, 1996.

He said he and his partner reached out to Paul because he was the last person seen with Kristin.

Hanley said the interview was conducted in his vehicle because it was quieter than the Cal Poly Police Department where they met Paul and that Paul was told he was a witness in the case.

In the interview, Paul reportedly denied knowing Kristin Smart and said that she introduced herself as "Roxy" at a house party on Crandall Way on the night of May 24, 1996.

Hanley said that Paul told them that he didn't find Roxy attractive and "he didn't like those type of girls."

Paul reportedly said that he left the party at 2:30 a.m. on May 25 and saw a girl he knew from his statistics class, Cheryl Anderson, with Roxy, who was obviously intoxicated.

Hanley said Paul described walking back to campus with the women and hugging Roxy to help keep her warm. Paul said Anderson split off when they reached the intersection off Perimeter and Grand Avenue and he then split off from Roxy and returned to his dorm.

Hanley reportedly asked Paul why he didn't walk Kristin back to her dorm and he said that he didn't think of it.

During the interview, Hanley said he asked Paul about a discoloration under his right eye. Paul reportedly explained that he got elbowed in the eye during a pickup basketball game on Memorial Day.

Paul also reportedly agreed to a polygraph test.

Hanley said Paul was asked where he thought Kristin Smart was and Paul answered that he thought she went off with someone and that she's dead.

Hanley spoke with Paul again roughly three weeks later on June 19, 1996. The purpose of the interview was to follow up on some inconsistencies in Paul's statements and to conduct a polygraph.

The interview was conducted at the Arroyo Grande Police Department and recorded.

Paul's attorney, Robert Sanger, motioned to exclude the video citing Miranda rights issues.

Sanger argued that Paul was interrogated as a suspect and was not free to go during the two-hour-long interview.

The judge responded saying any encounter between a witness turned suspect can change and he allowed the video to be received into evidence.

At the end of Friday's hearing, Sanger requested evidence of phone communications between San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Detective Clint Cole and various witnesses.

The hearing is scheduled to continue on Monday with testimony from two detectives and one investigator.

The prosecutor said he's optimistic the preliminary hearing will wrap up by September 3.

ORIGINAL STORY - Following two delays this week, Paul and Ruben Flores are expected to return to the courtroom Friday morning for the continuation of their preliminary hearing.

The father and son are charged in connection with the death and disappearance of Kristin Smart, who disappeared from the Cal Poly campus in 1996. Her body has never been found.

Paul and Ruben were in court Monday, but the hearing was pushed to Wednesday. It was then delayed once again as attorneys were still working through discovery - the process in which both sides collect and exchange information about evidence and witnesses in the case.

Paul’s attorney, Robert Sanger, said he did not have all of the discovery yet and was asking for certain text messages.

Sanger also asked the judge to grant a bail reduction for Paul, which was denied.

Court is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. on Friday. Attorneys are expected to make motions at that time. The judge said there may or may not be testimony that afternoon.

The hearing first began on Aug. 2 and is expected to last through the month.