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Testimony in Kristin Smart case preliminary hearing wraps up; judge to rule on Wednesday

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Posted at 12:09 PM, Sep 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-20 22:35:16-04

Testimony wrapped up Monday in the preliminary hearing for Paul and Ruben Flores, the two men charged in connection with the 1996 disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart.

On Wednesday, the judge in the case is expected to rule whether there is enough evidence to move the case forward to trial.

Smart was last seen walking back to the dorms with Paul Flores after attending an off-campus party.

While her remains have never been found, Kristin was declared legally dead in 2002.

Paul is charged with her murder. His father, Ruben, is charged as an accessory.

Monday's testimony began with cross-examination of Jennifer Hudson who first took the stand on August 12.

At that time, she told the court that in 1996, she heard Paul Flores use a derogatory term to refer to Kristin Smart and said, "I'm done playing with her and I put her out underneath my ramp in Huasna." She said she didn't tell law enforcement about it until she talked to San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Detective Clint Cole in 2019.

The defense questioned why she waited so long. Hudson said she had no one to turn to and was on her own, adding that at 17-years-old, anyone would be afraid.

The defense also questioned how Hudson remembered a conversation from 25 years ago, but not from 18 months ago.

"I would assume nobody in this courtroom would forget a conversation like that," Hudson said.

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Defense attorneys Sarah Sanger and Robert Sanger in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Pool photo by Dave Minsky/Santa Maria Times)

Det. Cole was also back on the stand Monday.

He discussed several recent interviews with David Stone, Ruben Flores's former tenant.

Stone reportedly lived in Arroyo Grande for 10 years, He moved out at the end of January 2020 due to the rent being raised.

Det. Cole said Stone told him that he heard Ruben call Kristin Smart a "dirty expletive."

He also told the detective that when there was a plumbing issue and a plumber needed to go under the house, Ruben said no.

He reportedly said he wasn't allowed under the deck either with the exception of two empty 55-gallon drums he put under there, but Ruben asked him to move them two weeks later.

Ruben's attorney, Harold Mesick then pointed out that the lattice gate was not locked and Det. Cole agreed.

Stone also reportedly told Det. Cole that the dogs on the property often went under the deck.

Detective Cole said Stone did not have anything negative to say about Ruben.

The last witness of the day was Jamilyn Holman, a neighbor of Ruben Flores in Arroyo Grande.

She said she saw a camper trailer attached to a white van and a red SUV with a cargo trailer parked next to his White Court home a few days after law enforcement served a search warrant there on Feb. 9, 2020.

She said it was suspicious because she had never seen those vehicles there before and they stayed overnight.

Holman said she saw Ruben, Susan Flores (Paul's mother), and Susan's boyfriend at the house.

In April, Smart family attorney James Murphy filed a lawsuit against Ruben Flores, alleging that he, Susan, and Mike McConville removed Smart's remains from the White Court property on or around Feb. 9, 2020.

Holman was the last of the prosecution's witnesses and the defense declined to call any of its own witnesses.

The preliminary hearing began on Monday, Aug. 2. Since then, more than two dozen witnesses have testified.

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San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle in court on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Pool photo by Dave Minsky/Santa Maria Times)

During closing arguments Monday afternoon, San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle said Paul Flores lies to cover up the murder of Kristin Smart.

Defense attorney Robert Sanger said there is no case against Paul Flores and there is certainly no case against Ruben Flores. He said there was nothing found in this case that is real evidence.

Defense attorney Harold Mesick echoed the same thoughts and said the prosecution has tried to paint "lipstick on a pig."

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Ruben Flores and his defense attorney, Harold Mesick, in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Pool photo by Dave Minsky/Santa Maria Times)

Judge Craig van Rooyen's ruling is expected at 8:30 a.m. on September 22.

Court was not in session last week.

Paul Flores has been in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail without bail since his arrest in April. Ruben was also arrested in April but is currently out on bail.