Judge denies audio broadcasting of hearing in Kristin Smart murder case

June 22, 2021

Deputy arresting Paul Flores

By KAREN VELIE

San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Craig van Rooyen ruled Monday against allowing audio recordings of next month’s preliminary hearing of two men accused in the disappearance and murder of Cal Poly freshman Kristin Smart because it could taint the jury pool and deter witnesses from testifying.

Paul Flores is accused of murdering Smart during an attempted rape in 1996. Charged with accessory after the fact, Ruben Flores is suspected of helping his son with Smart’s body. Her body has never been found.

Expected to last 12 days, the preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin on July 6 with in-person testimony. During the preliminary hearing, which is like a mini trial, Judge van Rooyen will determine if there is sufficient evidence to move forward with the case.

Kristin Smart

Convictions in murder cases without a body have been historically hard to prove.

In a pre-hearing document that was inadvertently posted online, Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle noted the excavation below the deck of Rubin Flores’ home in Arroyo Grande “showed damning evidence that a body had been buried in that location and then recently moved.”

SLO County sheriff deputy Clint Cole asked the court to deny bail for Rubin Flores because of biological evidence that makes them believe Smart was buried under his deck at one time.

During the preliminary hearing, it is likely prosecutors will disclose the type of biological evidence that was found.

At a hearing on April 14, the SLO County District Attorney’s Office noted its intent to provide the defense with video and audio evidence of sexual assaults Paul Flores allegedly committed before he was charged with Smart’s murder.

Prosecutors plan to use the evidence to make the case that Paul Flores has a propensity for sexually assaulting women.

Paul Flores is being held without bail in the SLO County Jail. Ruben Flores posted bail and was released in April.


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Gramelin

Why can this Judge deny Audio? Doesn’t the public have a right to hear this case?


OnlyinSLO

Yet, despite a complete gag order the DA’s office keeps leaking information to the press. “In a pre-hearing document that was inadvertently posted online, Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle noted the excavation below the deck of Rubin Flores’ home in Arroyo Grande “showed damning evidence that a body had been buried in that location and then recently moved.” Oh, this was an inadvertent posting, thus it doesn’t count. Trying the case in the press usually reflects a very week case by the DA’s office. If they lose this case, the lawsuit will cost county tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars – Parkinson and Dow are idiots unless they found a dead body. On top of all that they are going to use non-proven testimony that Flores is an asshole, is abusive to other women. Claims that were never prosecuted. Maybe Parkinson’s good friend, who supposedly had a degree in social work can be an expert witness for him. What a side show. They whole approach was to publicly humiliate flores, use the press to hopefully bring witnesses out of the wood work. Witnesses who never came forward before and now 30 years later have grown a conscious?


codysan

Onlyinslo, do you know Paul or something?


IDBOUND

Unfortunately the 12 day estimate points to the lack of any solid evidence , just as in the case where DA stacks charge list in hopes 1 charge will stick …The DA and LE are at the advantage whatever evidence they can create is very difficult for defense to weaken its credibility without admitting guilt .The DA has already been caught in the past using county employees and/or relatives of county employees for expert testimony who had no training or certification in that field of expertise …this is going to be a fiasco of a trial


jdchem

Maybe. Losing the case would be the only thing worse than not charging them. Surely the DA knows this.


codysan

There’s plenty of evidence to convict him


obispan

“if THEIR is sufficient evidence”? Maybe “if their evidence is sufficient”


Cthulhu Colander

You mean reporters may have to do their job? Expecting 12 days on a preliminary hearing means any evidence is circumstantial. No matter how guilty Paul is, this is a good sign for him. (I think he is guilty)


Jorge Estrada

One might believe that access to a public process is being denied? Guess we’ll just have to accept the final outcome, thumb up or thumb down, nothing new at the coliseum.