California prosecutors rest case against suspects in Kristin Smart murder trial

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Prosecutors finished presenting evidence in court against the men allegedly connected to the disappearance and murder of Kristin Smart on Tuesday.

College freshman Kristin Smart, 19, vanished after leaving an off-campus party nearby California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo in May 1996. Her body was never found, and she was declared legally dead in May 2002.

Paul Flores, the fellow student who was last seen with Smart, is standing trial for murder. The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office alleges that his father Ruben, 81 acted as an accessory to the murder.

The trial, which began in July, will continue as the defense team makes their case and calls witnesses. The eventful Tuesday court hearing included a cross-examination of a forensic analyst and the presentation of an explicit image found on Flores’ computer.

KRISTIN SMART: CALIFORNIA TRIAL FOR MURDER SUSPECT PAUL FLORES, FATHER GOES DARK FOR REMAINDER OF WEEK

Judge Jennifer J. O'Keefe glances at a slide of a photo of evidence at the Kristin Smart murder trial on Sept.  19, 2022, at the Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas, CA.

Judge Jennifer J. O’Keefe glances at a slide of a photo of evidence at the Kristin Smart murder trial on Sept. 19, 2022, at the Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas, CA.
(Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Prosecutors displayed a lewd image of a woman with a red ball gag in her mouth, appearing to sit on Paul Flores’ bed.

Paul Flores’ defense attorney, Robert Sanger, responded by arguing that the image provided no context and could not prove anything, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Prosecutors also presented an audio recording of officers serving a warrant at Ruben’s house. In the recording, Ruben appears to misspeak and says he committed a felony.

“They haven’t committed no felonies, only me…,” Ruben says on the tape. “I mean, I am the only one who has been arrested.”

KRISTIN SMART TRIAL: WITNESS SAYS MURDER SUSPECT PAUL FLORES CALLED MISSING WOMAN A ‘B—-‘

Prosecutor Chris Puervelle puts a slide on a projection screen as defense attorney Paul Sanger, left, and defendant Paul Flores look on in Monterey County Superior Court during the Kristin Smart murder trial.

Prosecutor Chris Puervelle puts a slide on a projection screen as defense attorney Paul Sanger, left, and defendant Paul Flores look on in Monterey County Superior Court during the Kristin Smart murder trial.
(Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Prosecutors also showed videos of Paul Flores being questioned by authorities in 1996, which prosecutor Christopher Peuvrelle claimed showed Flores “lying through his teeth.” The prosecutor also called him a pathological liar.

Flores is facing accusations of sexual assault from two other women, including one who claimed that he raped her in 2008.

But Ruben Flores’ attorney, Harold Mesick, argued there was no evidence of rape or murder in the Smart case.

Kristin Smart went missing on May 25, 1996 while attending California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Kristin Smart went missing on May 25, 1996 while attending California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
(Axel Koester/Sygma via Getty Images)

“We don’t even know if Kristin Smart is dead, and I know that’s hurtful to hear and I’m sorry to say it,” Mesick said, according to the Sacramento Bee. “For all we know, she’s out in Dubai or the Middle East.”

The prosecutor disputed this, saying there is “no doubt” that the missing woman is deceased.

As the day concluded, Mesick and Sanger asked the judge to declare a mistrial, citing speculative claims and lack of evidence. The judge chose to move forward.

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Kristin Smart was pronounced legally dead in May 2002 after six years of searching for her remains proved fruitless.

Kristin Smart was pronounced legally dead in May 2002 after six years of searching for her remains proved fruitless.
(Photo by Axel Koester/Sygma via Getty Images)

The defense will begin presenting their case on Wednesday morning.

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