Susan Flores is not exempt from testifying in trial
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Monday, July 18, marks a very long awaited day for San Luis Obispo County — opening statements for the Kristin Smart murder trial.
Twenty-six years ago, 19-year-old Cal Poly student Kristin Smart was last seen leaving an off-campus party with another Cal Poly student, Paul Flores. Smart was never seen again, and her remains have yet to be found.
Paul Flores was arrested in April 2021 and charged in connection with the murder and disappearance of Smart. On the same day, his father, Ruben Flores, was arrested as an accessory after the fact — accused of helping his son hide Smart’s remains.
After Ruben’s home in Arroyo Grande was searched in 2021, biological evidence was found under his deck and an anomaly consistent with a grave. It was believed that Smart’s remains were once buried in that area and then relocated.
Last week, Monterey County Superior Court — where the trial will be held due to a ruling deciding the Flores father and son would not receive a fair trial in San Luis Obispo County — pretrial motions were wrapped up.
One of which included presiding Judge Jennifer O’Keefe ruling that Susan Flores will not be excluded as a witness.
Paul’s mother, Susan Flores, was subpoenaed to testify as a witness, which her attorney motioned to quash over fear of self-incrimination. Susan appeared in court via Zoom on Thursday for her motion, which was ultimately denied by Judge O’Keefe — meaning Susan will not be excluded as a witness.
Christ Lambert, the man behind the “Your Own Backyard” podcast which brought the case back into the forefront of the public eyes, was issued a subpoena on July 10 to appear in court with specific documents — which ones they asked for were not released to the public.
Lambert’s hearing to quash his subpoena was heard on Friday and was successfully quashed. Lambert, along with the Smart family, has been present in court throughout the pretrial proceedings.
Additional motions included the questioning of the preliminary testimony of witness Jennifer Hudson, who may have heard Paul admit to burying Kristin. Judge O’Keefe said questioning is appropriate with limitations. However, the judge ruled that testimony from Hudson’s then-boyfriend, Justin Goodwin, is not relevant.
The prosecution then motioned to admit evidence of alleged sexual aggressions by Paul — a motion that was previously postponed to finalize jury selection first to avoid any media exposure that could influence jurors.
It was ruled that witness testimony from three women alleging aggressive sexual behavior is inadmissible during the trial.
Additionally, three other women who reportedly said Paul sought them for sex when they were intoxicated and unable to consent will be allowed to testify, but will also be subject to rigorous cross examination.
And finally, the judge ruled to exclude sexual videos, a commercially-produced porn video and Google searches authorities say were found on Paul’s phone.
There will be no live footage or audio/video recordings allowed in the courtroom, as ordered by the judge. Only still photography is allowed.
This is a developing story. Paso Robles Press / Atascadeo News will continue to monitor the trial and provide updates as they are available.
Featured Image: Paul Flores on the first day of opening statements in the Kristin Smart murder trial on July 18. Pool photo by Daniel Dreifuss / MC Weekly