Jurors cry over photos of a possible burial site of Kristin Smart

September 2, 2022

Kristin Smart

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

Multiple jurors cried in court during the Kristin Smart murder trial on Thursday, as a result of testimony and photos of staining underneath the deck in the backyard of Ruben Flores’s home. [KSBY]

Paul Flores, Ruben Flores’s son, is charged with murdering Kristin Smart during an attempted rape in 1996 following a Cal Poly frat party. After the party, Flores helped escort Smart, who was found passed out on a lawn outside the gathering, back to her dorm. However, Smart did not return to her dorm and was never seen again.

Paul Flores – Photo by Daniel Dreifuss, Monterey County Weekly

Prosecutors allege Smart’s body had been buried beneath Ruben Flores’s deck and that it was later moved to another location.

On Thursday, archeologist Cindy Arrington testified about the March 2021 excavation. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office hired Arrington’s firm, Natural Investigations Company, to assist in the review of the soil.

Arrington testified that during the excavation, which included use of ground-penetrating radar, investigators found several anomalies in the soil. One of the anomalies was darker soil consistent with human decomposition.

In collaboration with Phil Hanes, an expert in ground-penetrating radar who testified on Wednesday, Arrington came to the conclusion that there was a disturbance under the deck. At one point, soil had been removed and put back, Arrington testified.

During their analysis, Hanes and Arrington found dark staining consistent with human decomposition about two feet deep, the archeologist testified. The staining should not have been in the soil, Arrington testified.

Ruben Flores and his attorney Harold Mesick, photo by Credit: Dave Minsky – Santa Maria Times

When asked by Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle, Arrington said the digging under the deck had likely been done by hand, not a machine.

Photos of soil staining were shown in the courtroom, prompting one member of Paul Flores’s jury to start crying. Judge Jennifer O’Keefe then halted testimony and ordered that lunch be taken early.

Mustang News reported several other jurors cried previously during Peuvrelle’s questioning of Arrington. Peuvrelle had taken long pauses during the exchange.

Robert Sanger, Paul Flores’s attorney, asked during cross examination whether the stains could have been caused by roots. Arrington replied that they could have been roots, human or animal. It is organic material, Arrington added.

Sanger also asked if there were any fibers or pieces of fabric found at the site, such as a tarp that a body could have been wrapped in. Nothing of that nature was found, and tarps are not organic material, and they decompose at a much slower rate than organic material, Arrington said.


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shelworth

First, I think he probably Murdered Miss Smart. Second, I think this trial is way too full of “Maybes” “Could haves” and “Probablys”…. When the Judge asks the Jury “if you have a reasonable doubt you must acquit”…


ghostpepper

I agree with you.. it also bugs me about reports of some jurors crying over testimony that isn’t worth crying over. Raises concerns that they’ll tend to make emotional decisions instead of rational ones.


UvalDeez Nuts

This is a disgusting example of why so called “expert witnesses” are complete garbage.


This paid witness brought nothing other than speculation to the trial.


She broke down in tears over what could easily be a tree root?


If the prosecution had any real evidence this case would last 3-4 days. 3-6 months is a desperate attempt to convict on feelings, not facts.


tidepool

UvalDeez Nuts gee your opinion seems awfully biased on behalf of the defendants. Why not allow justice to take its course in this very fair trial so the jury can decide based on the evidence presented…


805code4

Where is the evidence? Human DNA, Bones, ANYTHING visual and physical that can show beyond a reasonable doubt that Flores is guilty!! I’m not impressed at all with hearsay or discolored dirt. I got discolored dirt all over my property too does that mean anything worth a damn? For a 75,000$ reward, I’m sure someone will point to a deck oil stained spot of dirt or the shallow grave of a buried dog and testify in court that the Smart case is solved and her family may now have closure. SMFH


mazin

Thank you to the jurors for serving.


UvalDeez Nuts

Serving tea from organic waste?


805code4

It’s not that I think Flores is innocent or guilty, I just simply do not know, and the evidence and testimony so far is meaningless conjecture at best. If that is all it takes to get beyond a preliminary hearing, it’s no wonder our prisons are overflowing with people because the standard of proof is literally dirt poor.