More former Cal Poly students and acquaintances of Paul Flores and Kristin Smart testify in court
SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Salinas County Superior Courthouse continues to hear testimonies from former Cal Poly students in the Kristin Smart murder trial.
The former students and friends of Kristin Smart are recounting the night of Kristin’s disappearance — specifically the off-campus house party on Crandall Way where Kristin and Paul Flores were both seen.
Paul Flores is on trial for Kristin’s murder. The 19-year-old Cal Poly student went missing following the Crandall Way party over Memorial Day weekend in May 1996.
While Kristin’s remains have not been found, she was legally declared dead in 2002. Paul’s father Ruben Flores is accused of helping him cover up the crime.
Testimony from former Cal Poly student Trevor Boelter continued on Wednesday, Aug. 3, with San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle asking Boelter to describe his three interactions with Kristin Smart on the night of her disappearance.
Boelter described his first interaction with Kristin, saying Kristin walked up to him, introducing herself as “Roxy,” and gave him an “open mouth” kiss. He said she then grabbed his hand and took him to the bathroom.
Once inside the bathroom, Boelter recalled Kristin asking him twice if she was ugly to which he said “no.” She then asked him who at the party she should spend the night with to which he said himself.
Boelter said he did not recall smelling alcohol on Kristin. He said that Kristin then asked him to leave the bathroom.
When he left the bathroom, Boelter said a guy with “authority in his voice” asked what happened in the bathroom with Kristin. Boelter told the guy nothing and the guy laughed.
Boelter identified that man in the courtroom as Paul Flores, although he did not known his name at the time.
During cross examination, Boelter was pressed on how much he had to drink that night, but Boelter insisted that he did not recall being drunk.
Jennifer Madeiros, who lived in the dorm room across from Kristin, took the stand. Madeiros said she, Kristin’s roommate and her friend, Margarita, all noticed Kristin was missing on Saturday morning and they became concerned.
Madeiros testified that she called San Luis Obispo police on Sunday, but they referred her to the Cal Poly campus police, who then told her it was Memorial Day weekend and to call them back if she did not show up to class on Tuesday.
That Monday she called both agencies again and testified that the feeling of hopelessness grew each day.
When Kristin did not attend class on Tuesday, Madeiros called the campus police, who finally took a report.
Paul’s roommate at the time of Kristin’s disappearance took the stand to testify. He told the jury his plans that Memorial Day weekend in 1996 and that he left for Oakland on Friday and returned on Tuesday.
Tse said he heard about Kristin’s disappearance when he returned and asked Paul about it. Tse testified that Paul told him he saw Kristin at a party, she went missing after that party and he was the last person to see her.
“I made a joke — you probably did something to her,” Tse said. “He joked back, ‘yeah, she’s at my mom’s house right now.’”
Even though Tse never drank with Paul, he recalled seeing Paul after he had been drinking and that Paul would become more aggressive and loud.
Under cross-examination, Tse was asked if he noticed any unusual odors or stains in the dorm upon his return, but Tse testified that he didn’t notice anything different in the dorm of things they shared.
Tse responded to Ruben’s defense attorney Harold Mesick’s question regarding Paul’s demeanor when he returned. Tse said Paul seemed more serious.
Mario Garcia was a 26-year-old junior at Cal Poly in 1996 who occasionally played pool with Paul and saw Paul the week after Kristin disappeared.
Garcia told Peuvrelle in court that he noticed Paul had a black eye and that he was acting in a nervous, edgy way.
Garcia testified that Paul was wearing a hat the day he saw him. Paul’s defense attorney Robert Sanger and Mesick questioned Garcia on if Paul was known to wear hats, and Garcia said no.
Felipe Arias was a freshman at Cal Poly living in the Trinity dorms and an acquaintance of Kristin Smart during the 1995-96 school year.
Arias testified that he met Kristin at a fraternity party. On two occasions, Kristin stayed with him in his dorm room in the months leading up to her disappearance. On one of those stays she left behind a CD and sandals.
Sanger countered Arias saying he told investigators during a July 1996 interview that Kristin stayed with him five or six times either on his bed or on the couch. Arias clarified that she had stayed twice in his bed and could have stayed on the couch a few other occasions.
Following witness testimonies, Monterey County Judge Jennifer O’Keefe heard a motion from several media organizations to unseal case documents, including the protective order prohibiting anyone involved in the trial from speaking with media about the case.
O’Keefe ruled that counsel will supply the court with the names in the documents that each side would like sealed. She said a full seal could also be done for certain documents.
The protective order issued in the case is still in effect, but O’Keefe said it will be reviewed to be consistent with the law.
In the meantime, the court is continuing to unseal documents in the case.
Wednesday, hundreds of pages of documents dating back to shortly after Kristin’s disappearance were released.
The trial was moved to Salinas after San Luis Obispo County Judge Craig van Rooyen ruled the father and son would not receive a fair trial in SLO County. While Paul and Ruben are being tried together, they will have separate juries.
The trial is expected to last into October.
Atascadero News will be following this story and update as new information becomes available.