Ex California College Students who knew the long-missing woman as Kristin Smart or Paul Flores — the man accused of killing Smart, and then hiding her body with the help of her father — testified in court about run-ins with the woman or her alleged killer in the days surrounding her disappearance. .
Paul Flores is accused of killing Smart on May 25, 1996, when the two were freshmen at California Polytechnic State University’s San Luis Obispo campus. His father then helped her hide her body.
The trial proceedings are not televised or broadcast live at the judge’s discretion. A handful of journalists — including the man behind the “Your Own Backyard” (YOB) podcast, who is credited with sparking interest in the case — have been reporting from the courtroom amid media restrictions.
No trial will be held on Friday. On Thursday, jurors heard more testimony from people who knew or encountered Smart and Paul Flores in the days surrounding her disappearance.
The Cal Poly student, identified as “Mario,” said he was a junior transfer student at the San Luis Obispo campus for the 1995-1996 school year and played 8-ball pool several times a week with the younger Flores. The college’s Santa Lucia Hall, according to a tweet from YOB Podcast.
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He and Flores played pool in the days after Memorial Day weekend 1996 — the last time Smart was seen, he recalled. Mario allegedly described that Flores’ eye appeared to be black and he pulled it down “in a very unusual way, like he was trying to hide it.”
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When Mario asked Flores about the eye injury, Flores alleged that he had been to a party where someone pushed him, According to reports.
Mario described Flores at the time as “kind of nervous, intense.” But under cross-examination, Mario also admitted that Flores was “generally a friendly guy.”
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Paul Flores’ defense attorney, Robert Sanger, questioned Mario about what he remembered about the black eye, such as where on his face and when he interacted with Flores.
Mario said it was “under the eye”, not “in the eyelid” where Sanger suggested.
Sanger asked: “You don’t remember when it happened?” According to YOB Podcast tweets.
Mario allegedly responded that “it was Wednesday or Thursday of that week.”
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Ruben Flores’ defense attorney, Harold Messick, also questioned Mario about specific details, such as whether Flores “always wore a hat” when he played pool, according to the report.
“I don’t remember,” Mario said.
Messick asked: “You don’t remember he always wore a hat? He was notorious for wearing a hat?”
Mario said he didn’t remember that.
Next on the stand was a Cal Poly student named Felipe, who talked about how Smart was a close friend, staying in his room once or twice. According to the report, he said he last saw Smart on May 23, when she left a reggae CD, lip gloss and sandals in his room.
Jurors heard briefly from a District Attorney’s Office investigator who testified how Ruben Flores’ address remained the same from 1994 to 2022, according to the podcast reporter.
Paul Flores’ home address on his license was the same as that of Ruben Flores from 1993 to 2005, when his residence was listed as Lawndale and then San Pedro, according to the report.
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The younger Flores is charged with murder in connection with Smart’s alleged death. His father, Ruben Flores, is accused of helping his son bury Smart’s remains. He is alleged to have later discovered and relocated the remains.
Paul was reportedly the last person seen with Smart, 19, who was said to be intoxicated after he and others attended an off-campus party over Memorial Day weekend.
The state said Paul Flores killed Smart in his dorm room when he tried to rape her when they were both freshmen. A great discovery was made.
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Independent juries were selected from a pool of more than 1,500 Monterey County residents to oversee each case separately, but simultaneously. The hearing of this case is likely to last for four months.