A friend of Kristin Smart and witness from the Crandall Way party testified on Friday
SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Kristin Smart murder trial continued on Friday, July 22, resuming the cross-examination of Kristin’s father, Stan Smart.
Paul Flores, 45, is charged in connection to the 1996 disappearance and murder of 19-year-old Cal Poly student Kristin Smart. Paul was arrested in April 2021 — on the same day, his father, Ruben Flores, was arrested as an accessory after the fact — accused of helping his son hide Kristin’s remains.
Kristin was declared dead in 2002, but her remains have yet to be recovered.
Third Witness: Stan Smart (cont.)
Paul’s defense attorney, Robert Sanger. picked up where he left off on a cross-examination of Stan, presenting aerial photos of Ruben’s home in Arroyo Grande.
Stan confirmed for Sanger that he knew Ruben’s property and had been there a few times — further confirming that on Aug. 17, 1996, he followed Ruben, who was in a U-Haul truck leaving Ruben’s Arroyo Grande home. Stan said he was worried things were being taken from the home and that he missed his daughter.
Further into the questioning, Sanger asked Stan if he had ever gone to the Flores’ home with anyone. Stan responded that he did not recall, leading Sanger to ask him if anyone at the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office advised him to say he did not remember. Stan denied the accusation.
Sanger then asked Stan if Chris Lambert from the “Your Own Backyard” podcast was present with Stan during his visit to Ruben’s home in the summer of 1996.
Stan answered, saying he didn’t think so as Lambert is a young man.
Ruben’s defense attorney Harold Mesick took his turn to cross-examine Stan. Mesick asked Stan if he ever stepped foot on Ruben’s property, which Stan said he had not.
Fourth Witness: Vanessa Shields
The fourth witness to take the stands was Vanessa Shields — one of Kristin’s friends from Cal Poly who lived two doors down from her.
Shields told San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle that she recalls seeing Paul at two parties multiple weeks before Kristin’s disappearance. She said Paul stared intently at Kristin, calling him a creepy guy.
She further explained that Paul was always along and was not Kristin’s type, citing that Kristin did not return the interest towards Paul.
Under cross-examination with Sanger, he asked Shields to recall when the FBI interviewed her about Kristin’s disappearance. She did not recall if she had told the FBI about her previous experience with Paul.
Shields did confirm with Sanger that SLO Sheriff’s Office did not interview her until February 2022, but she said she had been waiting for their call for a long time.
With Mesick, Shields said that over the years, she has believed Paul is guilty.
Fifth Witness: Kendra Koed
The fifth witness, Kendra Koed, was a student at Cuesta College in May 1996 and present at the house party on 135 Crandall Way in San Luis Obispo.
Koed walked the jury through the events of the party where Kristin and Paul were present.
At the party, Koed told the jury she was asking people at the party for gum. One male said he did have some — she pointed to Paul in the courtroom, confirming he was the male.
Koed says Paul approached her and began kissing her, and she pushed him away. Koed then followed Paul outside, thinking Paul was going to his car for gum, but Paul attempted to kiss her again. This time, Koed left Paul and returned to the party, telling her friends what had just happened.
Koed recalled seeing a “tall girl” come through the front door while greeting a friend. She later identified the “tall girl” as Kristin Smart who she saw fall to the ground while at the party with Paul standing over her.
She describes the interaction as uncomfortable.
Under questioning by Peuvrelle, Koed said she then helped Kristin outside on the front patio where she noticed Kristin didn’t seem sober, and that she needed a friend.
Kristin told Koed that her name was Roxy, and Koed says she warned Kristin to stay away from Paul.
When leaving the party, Koed says she saw Kristin lying down on the driveway outside of the house. Koed told the jury she asked Kristin if she needed a ride home, but Kristin told her she already had one.
Under cross-examination with Sanger, he asked Koed why she didn’t tell Cal Poly Police this information in 1996, to which Koed said she did tell them everything that happened at the party.
Koed confirms she was interviewed by Detective Mike Kennedy over the phone on May 31, 1996, but she doesn’t know how much of her story he wrote down.
Sanger then asked Koed about her participation in the “Your Own Backyard” podcast with Lambert.
Sanger presented new items to be published as evidence which included screenshots showing Koed and the podcast’s account following each other on Instagram.
Sanger then asked Koed if Lambert had interviewed her for the podcast. Koed confirmed that Lambert interviewed her for the second episode. He then asked Koed if Lambert was dedicated to convicting Paul. She said Lambert is dedicated to finding justice for Kristin’s parents.
Under Mesick’s cross-examination, Koed was asked about her preliminary hearing testimony on Aug. 2, 2021. Following her testimony, Koed changed her profile picture on Facebook to one with a symbol and the color purple, commonly associated with Kristin Smart.
Koed confirmed to the court that she had updated her photo and that the symbol represents Kristin.
Witness testimonies continued on Monday, July 25, at 8:30 a.m. at the Monterey County Superior Courthouse in Salinas.