The hearing is now on recess and will continue on Monday, August 9 at 9:00 AM

By Camille DeVaul and Melissa Guerra

SAN LUIS OBISPO – Day Four of the preliminary hearing for Paul Flores began with Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle bringing former Detective Kennedy back to the stand.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

Paul Flores’s attorney, Robert Sanger, says he just obtained over 500 pages of Kennedy’s notes from when he first investigated Kristin Smart’s disappearance in 1996.

Sanger notes there are older Bates stamp numbers on some pages as well as new numbers. He suspects the notes were at one point turned over to James Murphy, the Smart family’s attorney.

Peuvrelle responded, letting the defense know after 25 years, there are a lot of files, and they are working on getting all documents to them.

Sanger then proceeded with his cross-examination of Kennedy from the day prior.

Kennedy had no recollection to Sangers following inquires:

  • A man named Shahn who lit Kristin’s shoes on fire and left them on her doorstep with a note
  • A boyfriend or any male who set Kristin’s shoes on fire
  • A man named Ted who was in Kristin’s room on the night of her disappearance

Sanger again asked if Kennedy was investigating whether or not Scott Peterson was at the party. Kennedy did not know.

Margarita Campos

Margarita Campos, who lived next to Kristin in Muir Hall, took the stand as the next witness. 

Peuvrelle had Campos explain her friendship with Kristin and said they got closer about two to three months before her disappearance. The two met in December 1995 or early January 1996.

Campos explained to the court some girls down the hall invited her and Kristin to a get-together off-campus. The two rode with the other group of girls in a truck and went to but decided not to stay long. Campos said she and Kristin were dropped off, she believes on the corner of Foothill and California Boulevard.

Peuvrelle asks what Kristin was wearing that night–May 24, 1996. Campos said Kristin’s hair was brown at the time, and she was wearing short black Roxy boardshorts, a gray crop top, and red tennis shoes.

After they were dropped off, Campos left Kristin to go back to the dorms. Campos explained that Kristin wanted her to stay and go with her, but Campos wanted to return to the dorms.

Campos then testified that she gave Kristin her key to the main entrance to get back into the dorms as they lock after midnight.

Campos told the court that she turned around and saw Kristin walking to turn onto Crandall Way and said, “I’ve replayed in my head over and over, like, why did I let her go by herself?”

Peuvrelle asked Campos if she or Kristin had any more alcohol, and Campos said no and that Kristin was “100% sober” by that time.

Campos says the last time she saw Kristin was around 11:00 p.m.

After an afternoon break around 1:30 p.m., Peuvrelle asked Campos if she ever saw Paul around campus, and she responded yes. He then asked if Paul ever stared at her, and Campos said yes, “he stared at everyone.”

Campos then testified that on May 25, 1996, she went and knocked on Kristin’s door several times. When Kristin’s roommate Crystal answered the door later that day, Campos realized Kristin did not come home. Kristin’s room was the same as she left it.

She continued saying that Sunday, May 26, 1996, was when things got “surreal.” Other dormmates said that it wasn’t normal and Kristin would have said something to someone.

That same day Campos said she and a few other girls decided to report Kristin missing.

During Sanger’s cross-examination, Campos explained she was frustrated with how the Cal Poly Campus Police handled Kristin’s disappearance.

Campos said in 2017 she sent an email to the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Department to set up a meeting with detective Cole.

During those meetings, Campos told Detective Cole that prior investigators on Kristin’s case were “demoralizing” and “instilled shame” for her being friends with Kristin. Campos stated she found a footprint outside Kristin’s window and reported it to campus police, hoping they would investigate it properly. She did not believe the footprint was properly investigated.

Sanger asked Campos if she recalled filling out a questionnaire by the FBI in 1999. Campos does not recall being interviewed by the FBI or them being involved. 

Sanger then asked Campos if Kristin was “stalking a boy she liked.” Campos told the court that stalking was a word she would have used when she was younger but now says Kristin had a crush on a guy and was trying to get his attention. Sanger asked if that guy was Sean, and Campos said no. Campos then clarified that she did introduce Sean and Kristin but believed they already knew each other. According to Campos, Kristin and Sean were only casual friends.

Later Sanger asked Campos if she remembers telling the District Attorney Kristin was pregnant. Campos said she did not know whether Kristin was pregnant or not. Sanger then asked if Campos is saying she did not tell investigators that Kristin was pregnant, and she says that is correct.

Campos did not recall that Kristin ever told her that she was going to Santa Barbara to get an abortion pill.

Campos then confirmed she was interviewed on January 8, 1999, by SLO Sheriff’s Detective Steve Crawford. She recalls the interview was a long three hours in a parked car in Orange County. She again confirmed that she did not tell the detective that Kristin was pregnant or that Sean was the father.

Sanger handed Campos a document to refresh her memory. She said that was information she heard after Kristin disappeared when she spoke to Sean.

Ruben Flores’s attorney Harold Mesick then cross-examined Campos.

Mesick asked Campos if she knows where Kristin may be now. After pausing, Campos responded, “Kristin is no longer alive.”

Detective Clinton Cole 

Later, Detective Clinton Cole was called back to the stand.

Peuvrelle began by asked Cole about interviewing Crystal, Kristin’s roommate at Muir Hall, on June 16, 2021.

Crystal told Detective Cole that she was concerned when Kristin was gone more than 24 hours without her red backpack, saying she never left without it. She said the last time she saw Kristin was on May 24, 1996, around 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m.

Sanger then proceeded with his cross-examination of Detective Cole. Sanger asked Detective Cole if he went over an FBI questionnaire filled out by Crystal in 1999 when he interviewed her in 2021. Cole says he did not.

Detective Cole told Sanger that he kept an open mind when he took over the case and did not assume Paul was a suspect as that is how he handles all his cases.

Sanger asked Cole if he investigated other potential suspects, including Ted, Yanish, Shahn, Sean, and Brian.

Later Sanger asked Cole if he has heard that Scott Peterson was on the party of May 24, 1996.

Detective Cole testified that in all his research, the only person who said anything related to Scott Peterson was a public tip that came after being charged with murdering his wife, Laci Peterson. Cole continued that the tip came from a lady who said that in her opinion, Scott and Lacy had been to a party with Kristin. However, the woman never clarified it was the Crandall Way party.

After dismissing Detective Cole from the stand, Sanger made comments about making arrangements for Scott Peterson. However, it is unclear if Sanger is trying to arrange for Peterson to testify as the topic was not discussed any further. 

The hearing is now on recess and will continue on Monday, August 9 at 9:00 am.