The judge will make his final ruling on Wednesday on if the case will move forward to trial
SAN LUIS OBISPO – The Flores preliminary hearing resumed on Monday, Sep. 21, after a week-long break.
Just before 2:30 p.m., the People rested their case. The defense also rested their case without calling any witnesses.
Judge Craig van Rooyen will give his ruling on Wednesday, Sep. 22 at 8:30 a.m., on if the case will go to trial.
Paul (44) and Ruben (80) Flores are charged in connection with the 1996 disappearance and murder of 19-year-old Cal Poly student Kristin Smart. Paul has been charged with her murder, and Ruben is being charged with accessory after the fact.
Both men were arrested in April. Ruben is out on bail, but Paul remains in the San Luis Obispo County jail with no bail.
Kristin’s remains have never been found, but she was declared legally dead in 2002.
During closing arguments on Monday, San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle said Paul Flores lies to cover up the murder of Kristin Smart.
Paul’s defense attorney Robert Sanger said there is no case against Paul Flores, and there is certainly no case against Ruben Flores. He said there was nothing found in this case that is real evidence.
Ruben’s defense attorney Harold Mesick echoed the same thoughts and said the prosecution has tried to paint “lipstick on a pig.”
Smart’s family has attended each day of the hearing, along with Susan Flores, who invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify on the first day.
Earlier in the hearing, testimony began with a cross-examination of Jennifer, who first took the stand on Aug. 12.
When she first took the stand, she told the court that in 1996, she heard Paul Flores use a derogatory term to refer to Kristin Smart and said, “I’m done playing with her, and I put her out underneath my ramp in Huasna.” She said she didn’t tell law enforcement about it until she talked to San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Detective Clint Cole in 2019.
The defense questioned why she waited so long. Jennifer said she had no one to turn to and was on her own, adding that at 17-years-old, anyone would be afraid.
The defense also questioned how Jennifer remembered a conversation from 25 years ago, but not from 18 months ago.
She responded, saying no one in the courtroom would forget a conversation like that.
Detective Clinton Cole
San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office Detective Clinton Cole took the stand after Jennifer.
He discussed several recent interviews with David, Ruben Flores’s former tenant.
David reportedly lived in Arroyo Grande for 10 years. However, he moved out at the end of January 2020 due to the rent being raised.
Det. Cole said David told him that he heard Ruben call Kristin Smart a “dirty expletive.”
He also told the detective that when there was a plumbing issue and a plumber needed to go under the house, Ruben said no.
He reportedly said he wasn’t allowed under the deck either, with the exception of two empty 55-gallon drums he put under there, but Ruben asked him to move them two weeks later.
Ruben’s attorney, Harold Mesick, then pointed out that the lattice gate was not locked, and Det. Cole agreed.
David also reportedly told Det. Cole that the dogs on the property often went under the deck.
Detective Cole said David did not have anything negative to say about Ruben.
The last witness of the day was Jamilyn, a neighbor of Ruben Flores.
She testified about photos she took of a camper trailer attached to a white van and a red SUV with a cargo trailer parked next to Ruben’s home a few days after law enforcement served a search warrant there on Feb. 9, 2020.
Jamilyn testified that she came home that day around 4 p.m. and heard people yelling loudly and saw Ruben, Susan Flores, and Mike McConville (Susan Flores’ boyfriend) at Ruben’s home.
Jamilyn took the photos from the roofline of her home, where she has lived since 2013.
Sanger asked how Jamilyn knew it was an FBI search, and she remembered hearing about it from a local TV broadcast. She later testified to listening to Lambert’s podcast and following the case on the news prior to the 2020 search.
Jamilyn said nothing happened with the photos and didn’t think they would be important in the investigation until about a year later when she was advised to contact investigators.
Upon cross-examination from Mesick, Jamilyn testified that a portion of her official statement about what she witnessed was not accurate.
She clarified that she never witnessed digging activity at Ruben’s home on the night of Feb. 9, 2020.
Jamilyn was the last of the prosecution’s witnesses, and the defense declined to call any of its own witnesses.
The judge is scheduled to make his final ruling on Wednesday, Sept. 22, whether the case will move forward to trial.