Man accused of killing Kristin Smart in 1996 set to stand trial

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posée par GeorgettaFis (100 points) 08-Novembre-2022

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 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.12:24

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