Podcaster, Chris Lambert, is subpoenaed and will possibly testify in hearing
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Day six, Aug. 10, of the Flores hearing began by wrapping up Paul Flores’s Defense Attorney’s, Robert Sanger, cross-examination of Detective Clinton Cole.
Detective Clinton Cole
Sanger began by asking Detective Cole why he and San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle have been wearing purple ties to court.
Peuvrelle objected, and Judge van Rooyen, also wearing a purple tie, asked Sanger how this was relevant. Sanger says people are wearing purple to show solidarity for the Smart Family.
Detective Cole said he was wearing purple for Kristin Smart, saying he saw on Facebook that it was her favorite color. However, Detective Cole said he did not discuss wearing purple with the family or the prosecution.
The defense tried to orally file a motion to dismiss the District Attorney’s Office from the case citing bias because of the purple ties, and asked for a hearing.
However, the judge said he would consider it once the defense files a written motion. The prosecution asked the judge to deny the request.
Harold Mesick, Ruben Flores’s attorney, wrapped up his cross-examination of Detective Cole. He asked Cole about the nine reasons they focused on Paul Flores as a suspect.
Detective Cole said he took over the case in September 2017 but did not narrow in on Paul as a suspect until 2018. He first signed the affidavit in late 2019 or 2020.
Following the cross-examinations of Detective Cole, Jeromy then took the stand as the eleventh witness.
Jeromy reportedly knew Paul in high school when he was a senior at Arroyo Grande High School and would sometimes hang out with Paul but could not confirm how often.
Jeromy testified seeing the Paul’s black eye on the Sunday of that Memorial Weekend in 1996. He recalled Paul told him that he “woke up with it.”
Jeromy could not recall other times he hung out with Paul, even after refreshing his memory with other reports.
Sanger questioned Jeromy’s meeting with the prosecution and detective this past June and asked if he told the DA’s office that he would help with Kristin’s case in any way he could.
Jeromy said that if he knew there was any wrongdoing, he would not have a problem coming forward.
Jeromy was then asked about the “Your Own Backyard” podcast. Jeromy said he does not follow the podcast but was approached by Chris Lambert for an interview.
According to Jeromy, Lambert went over a timeline of the case and showed him some police documents that would be released on an upcoming episode. Then, Lambert told Jeromy he wanted to give him the chance to talk.
Jeromy stated he did not want to be a part of the podcast.
Following the morning recess, Angie “Doe” took the stand.
Angie Doe, whose last name is being omitted by order of the court, was originally scheduled to take the stand on Monday’s hearing.
According to Angie Doe, she and Paul dated in 2003 for about two years.
Angie Doe told the court about a trip she took with Paul to Ruben Flores’s home on White Court in Arroyo Grande about six months into their relationship.
Angie said they stayed at Susan (Paul’s mother) Flores’s home on Branch Street for about two nights and visited Ruben’s home.
During that trip, Angie testified that she and Paul went out the back door of Ruben’s home that led to a concrete slab.
When Angie was within a few feet of some avocado trees near the back of the property, she was told by Paul and Ruben to walk away from them. She was then redirected by one or both of the men to the front of the house, away from the avocado groves.
Angie claims she did not know about Kristin’s case when dating Paul.
She adds that she did not talk with anyone officially until the sheriff’s office in February of this year, although Angie says someone did reach out to her about the case in 2005.
Sanger then began cross-examination and started by asking Angie about her involvement in the “Your Own Backyard podcast.”
Angie testified that she was interviewed by Chris Lambert once and was in one episode. She added that she told someone about the visit to Ruben’s home after she and Paul broke up in 2005.
Lastly, Rick Newfeld, a retired SLO County Sheriff’s detective, was called to the stand.
Newfeld worked for the department from 1976 to 2009. He was reportedly called out to process Paul’s dorm room on Jun. 24, 1996, where he took photos and collected samples.
Peuvrelle asked Newfeld what actions he took to process room #128.
Newfeld explained what tools and methods he used to search the dorm room. He stated that he collected fibers, a suspected semen stain, and Paul’s mattress.
Newfeld said he was aware Cal Poly had cleaned the room after it was vacated, and it would have been better to process the room for evidence prior to it being cleaned.
According to Newfeld, some items collected from the dorm were sent to the Department of Justice crime lab in Goleta for testing. However, Newfeld said he never received the results.
He said DNA testing was fairly new in 1996 and that the lab wasn’t capable of testing it at the time.
Lastly, Adela Morris, a cadaver dog handler, took the stand as an expert witness.
Morris spent 35 years as a cadaver dog handler and provided a detailed background on search and rescue training and classes to identify human remains with dogs.
Morris later went through the day she was called to search Paul’s dorm #128 on Jun. 29, 1996. Prior to searching Paul’s dorm that day, she searched ponds for the sheriff’s office.
Sanger objected to parts of Morris’s testimony, arguing there was insufficient foundation. He requested a hearing for admissibility for the dog handler.
Following lunch recess, Chris Lambert, the creator of the podcast “Your Own Backyard,” was subpoenaed by the defense.
However, Judge van Rooyen denied Sanger’s request to have Lambert removed from the courtroom even though Lambert may be called as a witness.
Since then, Lambert said on his Hallway Blog that the “publication of the Hallway Blog will be suspended at Lambert’s own discretion until the matter is resolved.”
Lambert has been attending the hearing each day and posting his notes to the Hallway Blog on his website yourownbackyardpodcast.com. Now, Lambert’s social media pages for the podcast have been deactivated.
Cadaver Dog Handler Testifies During Day 7 of Flores Hearing
Defense files motion to disqualify SLO County DA Office from the case
Day Seven of the preliminary hearing for Paul (44) and Ruben (80) Flores began on Wednesday, Aug. 11, for the murder of Kristin Smart.
Paul’s attorney, Robert Sanger, started the hearing by filing a motion to disqualify the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting the case.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Sanger tried to orally file the motion. He claims the prosecution is biased based on Detective Clinton Cole and Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle wearing purple ties to court—Purple was Kristin Smart’s favorite color and has been used by supporters to represent her.
Sanger argues it is unlikely Paul would get a fair trial because of the “San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s Office’s handling of the case.”
A temporary motion hearing is scheduled for Aug. 25. A representative from the State Attorney General’s Office will need to be in attendance since the AG’s Office would be handed the case if the motion is granted.
In agreeing to the hearing date, Peuvrelle pointed out that he was wearing a blue suit and tie Wednesday and that the tie he was wearing on Tuesday was actually red and navy.
However, Sanger continued to make his point that the purple attire was “inappropriate.”
The hearing then moved on to continue with Tuesday’s last witness, Adela Morris.
Morris, a cadaver dog handler who was called to the stand as an expert witness, went to the stand to continue her testimony from the day prior.
The defense continued to question Morris’s qualifications. Morris then clarified that she has certification from CARDA (California Rescue Dog Association).
Morris testified that her dog Cholla alerted to a piece of plastic in a dumpster near the Performing Arts Center and at Susan Flores, Paul’s mother, home in Arroyo Grande.
Judge van Rooyen asked Morris if Cholla could reliably detect human remains. She responded by saying Cholla was one of the most trained dogs in the state at the time.
Sanger again argued that Morris did not have proper qualifications, but Judge van Rooyen ruled that her testimony would be allowed.
Morris testified that her dog alerted to a door on the left side of Santa Lucia Hall, specifically room #128–Paul Flores’s dorm room. Morris indicated that it was one of the strongest alerts she had seen Cholla do.
Morris said both her dogs, Cholla and Cirque, strongly alerted to the mattress and desk on the left side of the room.
Harold Mesick, Ruben Flores’s attorney, asked Morris if she knew what she was searching for that day. She responded, saying she knew it was connected to the Kristin Smart disappearance but nothing more.
At the tail end of the hearing that day, another witness was called to the stand. Timothy was one of the last people to see Kristin alive the night she disappeared after walking with her, Cheryl Anderson, and Paul Flores after the Crandall Way party.
Timothy’s examination was continued to Thursday, Aug. 12.
Day Eight and Nine: Witness Testifies Paul Flores Confessed to Burying Kristin Smart in Huasna
Day eight, Aug. 12, of the Flores hearing started with witness Timothy taking the stand, continuing his examination from the day prior.
Timothy was a Cal Poly student in 1996 and said he left the Crandall Way party with Cheryl Anderson and Kristin Smart that May.
He recounted seeing Paul Flores at the Crandall Way party, saying Paul was interested in all the girls.
Timothy explained he saw Kristin and Paul in the hallway around 11 p.m., laughing and falling to the floor, seeming intoxicated.
He then explained that he did not leave the party with his friends and instead chose to walk back to the dorms with Anderson. It was then Timothy saw Kristin lying on the grass around 1 a.m. According to Timothy, Kristin repeatedly said she was cold and seemed very intoxicated. He and Anderson began walking back to the dorms with Kristin when he says Paul came out of nowhere.
Once the group reached the health center on campus, Anderson told Timothy she could handle it from there. At that time, Timothy claims to have heard Paul say he would take Kristin.
During cross-examination, the court was said to have gotten tense as the defense accused Timothy of tailoring his testimony to help the prosecution.
Timothy reaffirmed he was telling the truth on the stand and said he wanted to put Paul away and that he has replayed that night in his head for the last 25 years.
The next witness, Jennifer, was brought to the stand. She testifies seeing Paul on two separate occasions at a party.
The first time Jennifer claimed to have encountered Paul was in June 1996. An advertisement came on the radio asking for information relating to Kristin’s disappearance. She says Paul made a derogatory comment regarding Kristin and said he is done with her, and she is buried under his ramp in Huasna.
Jennifer says she was scared at the time and talked about it to her friend “Red,” who went to school with Paul. Red told Jennifer not to worry about it because Paul tells tall tales all the time.
The second time Jennifer encountered Paul was at the end of the summer that same year. Jennifer was living in Huasna at the time and drove some friends to a skate ramp. According to Jennifer, Paul was there and asked Jennifer if she wanted to go skinnydipping. She claimes she then vomited and drove away.
During cross-examination, the defense asked Jennifer to provide identifying characteristics of Paul. She said he was pale and had “dead eyes.”
Jennifer did not speak to authorities until 2019 and apologized for not coming forward sooner. She did not come forward until “Your Own Backyard” podcaster Chris Lambert approached her for an interview.
Jennifer says she brought Lambert and Detective Clinton Cole to the location in Huasna where the ramps were.
Jennifer’s examination was to continue on Monday, August 16, but when the court was brought to order on Monday, Judge van Rooyen continued the hearing to Wednesday.
During an in-person chambers conference, the defense submitted a waiver of continuance for the hearing due to new discovery.
The hearing was set to continue Wednesday then moved to Friday, Aug. 20 at 9 a.m.
The names of all witnesses mentioned will be addressed by first name only to protect their identity in accordance with court orders.