The hearing will continue on Wednesday with a motion to disqualify the SLO County DA Office from the case

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The preliminary hearing for Paul and Ruben Flores picked up again on Friday, Aug. 20, after being continued twice.

The father and son are charged in connection to the 1996 disappearance and murder of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart.

Friday, Aug. 20

Getting through this together, Atascadero

San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle began the hearing by again arguing that other alleged sexual assaults by Paul are relevant to the Kristin Smart case. 

The People’s charges state that Paul murdered Kristin either during rape or while attempting rape. Peuvrelle discussed several instances and witnesses when Paul allegedly drugged and raped women before and after Kristin’s disappearance. 

Peuvrelle requested to show the court a rape fantasy porn video allegedly in possession of Paul when investigators searched his home in San Pedro. He says the video shows Paul’s intention to rape and represents his motive (MO).

Paul’s defense attorney, Robert Sanger, argued that there is no evidence of a crime in the Smart case. He stated they have only heard propensity character evidence, and the MO Peuvrelle described is salacious and overboard.

Judge Craig van Rooyen reminded the court that it will be decided if there is probable cause that Paul committed murder and not rape at the end of the preliminary hearing.

Judge van Rooyen again denied the People’s motion to include evidence and witnesses from sexual assault and rape by Paul.

Meaning, the home videos made by Paul, fantasy porn videos, alleged sexual assault victims will not be allowed as evidence in the Kristin Smart case.

William Hanley

Following lunch recess, retired chief district attorney investigator for San Luis Obispo County William Hanley took the stand as the day’s first witness.

Hanley testified that in May of 1996, he was assigned to investigate the missing person case of Kristin Smart and interviewed Paul Flores on May 31, 1996.

He and his partner interviewed Paul because he was reportedly the last person seen with Kristin.

In the interview, Paul reportedly denied knowing Kristin Smart and said she introduced herself as “Roxy” at a house party on Crandall Way on May 24, 1996.

The interview took place in Hanley’s vehicle instead of the station because he said it was too loud.

Hanley said that Paul told them that he didn’t find Roxy attractive and “he didn’t like those types of girls.”

Paul relayed the events of that night to Hanley, saying he gave Kristin a hug because she was cold.

During that same interview, Hanley asked Paul about the discoloration (bruise) under his right eye. Paul said he got elbowed in the eye during a basketball game on Memorial Day.

When asked what Paul thought happened to Kristin that night, he said he thinks she got into a car with someone and that she is dead.

Hanley spoke with Paul again roughly three weeks later on Jun. 19, 1996, to follow up on some inconsistencies in Paul’s statements and conduct a polygraph, which Paul previously agreed to.

The interview was conducted at the Arroyo Grande Police Department and recorded, but Sanger motioned to exclude the video citing Miranda rights issues.

Sanger argued that Paul was interrogated as a suspect and was not free to go during the two-hour-long interview.

The judge responded by saying any encounter between a witness-turned-suspect can change, and he allowed the first 48 minutes of the video to be received into evidence.

At the end of Friday’s hearing, Sanger requested evidence of phone communications between San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Detective Clint Cole and various witnesses.

Peuvrelle said he was confident the preliminary hearing would be wrapped up by Sept. 3. 

Monday, Aug. 23

The fourth week of the Flores hearing continued on Monday, Aug. 23.

Henry Stewart

Retired San Luis Obispo County Deputy Sheriff Henry Stewart took the stand Monday morning.

Stewart provided details pertaining to a jail informant used to investigate Paul Flores’ alleged role in the May 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart. 

An informant was used after Paul was arrested for a probation violation and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail in 2002. 

According to Stewart, an “agent” was sent into the jail in hopes of becoming friends with Paul, but he kept the same story. 

The operation was conducted by the FBI, who became involved early on in the case.

Stewart testified that the informant remained friends with Flores after jail and later invited him on a fishing trip at Catalina Island but ended up being an unsuccessful attempt for a recorded confession.

He also testified about an interview he conducted in July of 1996 with Jana Schrock, a friend of Kristin’s roommate, Crystal.

Schrock reportedly stayed in Crystal and Kristin’s room the night of May 24-25 when Kristin disappeared.

Stewart testified that Schrock told him she was alone in the room until an acquaintance named “Ted” showed up and stayed with her until about 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.

Stewart said on Jun. 26, 1996, they went to Paul Flores’s former dorm room.

The room was empty with only beds inside, according to Stewart, who testified that he found a strand of brown hair under the edge of a mattress in the room.

He says it was booked into evidence the same day. It was not revealed in court whether it was ever determined to whom the hair belonged.

Steward recalled the FBI becoming involved in the case, saying some evidence was sent to a lab in Quantico, Virginia, for analysis but was returned without any testing and added their use of experimental ground-penetrating radar on the Arroyo Grande residence of Susan Flores, Paul Flores’ mother.

Stewart says a search warrant was served at a home on White Court in Arroyo Grande on Jul. 15, 1996.

Paul Flores was reportedly interviewed at the time and his room was searched.

Stewart discussed others he interviewed regarding the night Kristin went missing. None, according to Stewart, seemed to know where Kristin went.

Paul’s defense attorney, Robert Sanger, argued that for 25 years, Paul has said the same thing, insisting that the night of Kristin’s disappearance, Paul went to his dorm and Kristin went to hers.

Stewart says he tried to interview Paul a number of times, but Paul always told him, “I have nothing to say. Talk to my lawyer.”

Court is set to resume Wednesday with testimony from District Attorney Investigator JT Camp.

Attorneys are expected to continue working through discovery on Tuesday. Discovery is the process in which the two sides collect and exchange information about evidence and witnesses in the case.

Additionally, on Wednesday, Aug. 25, a hearing is scheduled to consider the defense’s motion to disqualify the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting the case.