The father of the man accused of killing Kristin Smart never searched for the vanished California college student, tore down missing posters and called her a ‘dirty sl**’ after he allegedly helped his son move her body, a court heard on Monday. 

Paul Flores wore a face mask and remained expressionless as he sat in Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas, California and listened as prosecutors began laying out the timeline of Smart’s disappearance more than 26 years ago.

Smart vanished from California Polytechnic State University’s San Luis Obispo campus in 1996. She was just 19 years old. Paul Flores, who is now 45, was the last person seen with Smart. 

Smart was declared dead in 2002. But her body has never been found. 

Now, Flores is standing trial more than a year after he was arrested on a murder charge along with his father, Ruben Flores, now 81, who is charged as an accessory for allegedly helping his son dispose of her body. 

Prosecutors allege the two did not take part in the search for https://bvespirita.com/ Smart ‘while her corpse was decomposing under his deck.’

Paul Flores’ defense attorney Robert Sanger began his opening statement Monday afternoon by claiming that ‘there is no evidence what happened to her,’ and that she ‘engaged in at-risk behavior.’ 

Both father and son have pleaded not guilty in the case. There will be two juries deciding two verdicts: One for Paul Flores and one for Ruben Flores. The trial is expected to last until October.

Paul Flores listens during opening statements in his murder trial on Monday in Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas, Calif. He's accused of killing Kristin Smart in 1996

Paul Flores listens during opening statements in his murder trial on Monday in Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas, Calif. He’s accused of killing Kristin Smart in 1996

Kristin Smart was last seen May 25, 1996, with Flores, who walked the 19-year-old to her dorm at California Polytechnic State University after a party off-campus

On the first day of the trial Monday, San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle told the court that evidence would be shown that would prove Smart was murdered by Paul Flores and that both he and Ruben Flores buried her under the elder Flores’ deck, the reported. 

‘And while the entire community banded together to search for Kristin desperately, Paul and Ruben Flores did not join in,’ Peuvrelle added. ‘You will hear Ruben Flores would tear down missing posters of Kristin — tore down her smiling beautiful face —called her a ‘dirty slut,’ all while her corpse was decomposing underneath his deck.’ 

Peuvrelle then described the Smart family and their final contact with Kristin, saying that just before she disappeared, she called and left a voicemail for her mother ‘ecstatic with some news.’ 

‘They’ll never know what that good news was,’ Peuvrelle said.

Prosecutors say Paul Flores killed the 19-year-old during an attempted rape on May 25, 1996 in his dorm room at Cal Poly, where both were first-year students. 

His father, now 81, allegedly helped bury the slain student behind his home in the nearby community of Arroyo Grande and later dug up the remains and moved them.

Paul Flores had long been considered a suspect in the killing, but prosecutors only arrested him and his father in 2021 after the investigation was revived.

San Luis Obispo Sheriff Ian Parkinson acknowledged missteps by detectives over the years and he credited a popular podcast about Smart’s disappearance called ‘Your Own Backyard’ for helping unearth new information and inspiring witnesses to speak with investigators.

Smart’s remains have never been found and the mystery of how she vanished from the scenic campus tucked against a verdant coastal mountain range is likely to be central to the trial.

Prosecutor Chris Peuvrelle makes his opening statement on the first day of Paul Flores murder trial in Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas on Monday

Prosecutor Chris Peuvrelle makes his opening statement on the first day of Paul Flores murder trial in Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas on Monday

Paul Flores, now 45, is charged with murder in the commission of a rape or attempted rape

Ruben Flores, now 81, is charged with accessory after the fact

Paul Flores, now 45, is charged with murder in the commission of a rape or attempted rape. His father, Ruben Flores, now 81, is charged with accessory after the fact

In April 15, 2021, defendants Paul Flores, top left, and his father, Ruben Flores, bottom right, appear via video conference during their arraignment in San Luis Obispo Superior Court

In April 15, 2021, defendants Paul Flores, top left, and his father, Ruben Flores, bottom right, appear via video conference during their arraignment in San Luis Obispo Superior Court

Investigators have conducted dozens of searches over two decades, but turned their attention in the past two years to Ruben Flores’ home about 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Cal Poly in the community of Arroyo Grande.

Behind lattice work beneath the deck of his large house on a dead end street off Tally Ho Road, archaeologists working for police in March 2021 found a soil disturbance about the size of a casket and the presence of human blood, prosecutors said.

The blood was too degraded to extract a DNA sample. While a blood expert said it was human blood, the test used did not rule out the possibility it was from a ferret or ape, though court records said no remains of such an animal were found there.

Attorney James Murphy Jr., who has sued the father and son on behalf of Smart’s parents, scoffed at the idea that it was anything other than human blood.

‘The size of the area in which the blood was found would make it a prehistoric ferret that would be in Jurassic Park,’ Murphy said. ‘When was the last time you drove down Tally Ho Road in Arroyo Grande and saw a primate?’

The lawsuit Murphy filed against Ruben Flores alleged that ‘under cover of darkness,’ the father and unnamed accomplices moved the body four days after investigators searched his house in February 2020. Investigators didn’t conduct their dig beneath the deck until more than a year later.

On Monday, the prosecutor laid out evidence of the soil analysis from beneath the deck that shows a presence of blood and a recorded conversation between Paul Flores and his mother Susan Flores. 

During the call, the mother tells her son he needed to tell her where they can ‘punch holes’ in the ‘Your Own Backyard’ podcast because ‘only you can.’

The podcast, which launched in 2020, is credited with helping spark interest in the case. 

Peuvrelle ended his opening statements by laying out a timeline that led to the arrest of the two men in 2021 and said the court will hear the details that assisted their investigation including testimonies from three women who are expected to testify that Paul Flores drugged and raped them. 

The Smart family was in attendance at the trial on Monday, along with 10 members of the public and about 20 members of the media.  

Traces of human blood were discovered by investigators under the deck at Ruben Flores' Arroyo Grande residence. Prosecutors allege Smart's body was stashed there and moved

Traces of human blood were discovered by investigators under the deck at Ruben Flores’ Arroyo Grande residence. Prosecutors allege Smart’s body was stashed there and moved

Paul Flores, 45, was arrested in April 2021 for Smart's murder

Paul Flores, 45, was arrested in April 2021 for Smart’s murder

 

In February 2020, police executed a search warrant at Paul's San Pedro, California, home, and seized electronic devices containing homemade videos and rape porn, prosecutors say

In February 2020, police executed a search warrant at Paul’s San Pedro, California, home, and seized electronic devices containing homemade videos and rape porn, prosecutors say 

Searches were done in February and March 2020 as part of investigation into Smart's death

Searches were done in February and March 2020 as part of investigation into Smart’s death

San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Craig Van Rooyen ordered the pair to trial after a 22-day preliminary hearing in which he found a ‘strong suspicion’ the father and son committed the crimes they were charged with, that a grave existed under Ruben Flores’ deck and it once held Smart’s remains.

Prosecutors, defense lawyers and San Luis Obispo sheriff´s deputies are constrained by a court order prohibiting them from discussing the case.

Attorney Harold Mesick, who represents Ruben Flores, previously said the evidence unearthed was ambiguous. He said that soil under the deck had been dumped there after being excavated to lay a foundation nearby.

‘It was a hot mess because it´s been previously excavated,’ Mesick said. ‘If we even call it evidence, it is so minimal as to shock the conscience.’

Paul Flores was the last person seen with Smart on May 25, 1996 as he walked her home from an off-campus party where she got intoxicated.

Paul and Kristin were both freshmen at Cal Poly in 1996 when she vanished. He was staying in Santa Maria Hall and she was in Muir Hall, which are 0.2miles apart - a four minute walk

Paul and Kristin were both freshmen at Cal Poly in 1996 when she vanished. He was staying in Santa Maria Hall and she was in Muir Hall, which are 0.2miles apart – a four minute walk

Paul Flores is shown in an unrelated arrest photo from 1996, when he was 19.

Paul Flores is shown in an unrelated arrest photo from 1996, when he was 19. 

He downplayed his interactions with her when he first spoke with police three days later, saying she walked to her dorm under her own power, though other witnesses said that she had passed out earlier in the night and Flores helped hold her up as they walked back to campus.

Flores had a black eye when investigators interviewed him. He told them he got it playing basketball with friends, who denied his account, according to court records. He later changed his story to say he bumped his head while working on his car.

At a preliminary hearing last year, prosecutors presented evidence that four cadaver dogs stopped at Flores´ room and alerted to the scent of death near his bed.

Van Rooyen prohibited prosecutors from presenting evidence alleging Paul Flores had a history of stalking, inappropriate touching and aggressive sexual behavior toward women, including allegations he drugged and raped four women in the Los Angeles area years after Smart disappeared. Over the years, women called him ‘Chester the molester’ and ‘psycho Paul,’ according to a court document.

Paul Flores puts on a new N95 mask Aug. 3, 2021, at a preliminary hearing in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Kristin Smart disappeared during her freshman year at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo more than 25 years ago

Paul Flores puts on a new N95 mask Aug. 3, 2021, at a preliminary hearing in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Kristin Smart disappeared during her freshman year at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo more than 25 years ago

Ruben Flores, father of Paul Flores, sits in court Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Ruben Flores, father of Paul Flores, sits in court Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Van Rooyen ruled in favor of a defense request to move the trial out of San Luis Obispo County because it was unlikely the Flores’ could receive a fair trial with so much much notoriety in the city of about 47,000 people.

The case was moved 110 miles (177 kilometers) north to Salinas, a small city in the agricultural region where John Steinbeck set some of his best-known novels.

Defense lawyer Robert Sanger previously said the evidence remained the same as it did in the 1990s when Paul Flores was the prime suspect but never charged with a crime.

‘The evidence then and now is based on speculation and not proof of facts,’ Sanger said in court documents.

Sanger has tried to pin the killing on someone else – noting that Scott Peterson, who was later convicted at a sensational trial of killing his pregnant wife and the fetus she was carrying – was also a Cal Poly student at the time.

Trial Judge Jennifer O´Keefe – who is a year younger than Kristin Smart would be today – however, has barred suggestions of alternate suspects unless Sanger can provide evidence of their direct involvement.

Separate juries were selected to weigh the evidence against each defendant. The trial is expected to last about four months.

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