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 near 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.
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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 that has been arrested.”
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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.
“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.
The defense will begin presenting their case on Wednesday morning.
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