Paul Flores joked Kristin Smart was at his ‘mom’s house,’ witness testifies



More former roommates and friends of both missing Cal Poly student Kristin Smart and Paul Flores, the man accused of killing her, testified last week in Smart’s murder trial. 

Flores, now 45, is accused of murdering Smart, who disappeared after attending a party in 1996. Smart’s body has never been found, but her family has long believed Flores sexually assaulted and killed her that night. The trial is being held in Monterey County due to the notoriety of the case in San Luis Obispo County.

In week two of the trial, some of the most striking testimonies came from Flores’ dorm roommate at the time, Derrick Tse. Tse testified that he went on a trip to Oakland the weekend of Smart’s disappearance, and upon his return, campus chatter was fixated on Smart’s mysterious disappearance. Tse said Flores told him he might have been the last person to see her.


“I made a joke: ‘You probably did something to her,'” Tse testified. “He joked back, ‘Yeah, she’s at my mom’s house right now.'”

Kristin Smart went missing on May 25, 1996 while attending Cal Poly.
Kristin Smart went missing on May 25, 1996 while attending Cal Poly.

Axel Koester/Sygma via Getty Images

Around 2 a.m. on Memorial Day weekend in 1996, Smart, a 19-year-old Cal Poly freshman, headed back to her residence hall after attending a frat party. Smart was accompanied by three fellow students. Two peeled off before reaching her dorm, walking back to their own residences. The third, Paul Flores, later told police he dropped her off on campus at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Perimeter Road in San Luis Obispo. Smart was never seen again.

Prosecutors say after Paul Flores murdered her, he enlisted the help of his father Ruben Flores, now 81, to bury Smart’s body under the family’s Arroyo Grande home. Paul and Ruben Flores have pleaded not guilty to murder and accessory to murder, respectively. They are being tried simultaneously with separate juries. 

Judge Jennifer O'Keefe listens during opening arguments of the Paul Flores murder trial in Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas on Monday, July 18, 2022. (Daniel Dreifuss/Monterey County Weekly via AP, Pool)
Judge Jennifer O’Keefe listens during opening arguments of the Paul Flores murder trial in Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas on Monday, July 18, 2022. (Daniel Dreifuss/Monterey County Weekly via AP, Pool)

Daniel Dreifuss/Monterey County Weekly via AP, Pool

When Tse was cross-examined by the defense, he testified that he didn’t clock anything unusual about their shared dorm room when he returned from Oakland. Prosecutors allege Paul Flores killed Smart in his dorm, and court documents claim multiple scent dogs alerted to the possible presence of a cadaver in the room when it was investigated in 1996.

Hundreds of pages of previously sealed court documents were released last week after a motion by the San Luis Obispo Tribune, ABC News, the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times. Dozens of witness statements are in the documents, including some dating back to the original investigation. Lawrence “Mike” Kennedy, who was then an investigator with the Cal Poly Police Department, said when he initially interviewed Flores, the man was so nervous that “his heart was pounding in his chest to such a degree that his shirt was moving.” At that time, Kennedy also observed Flores had a black eye; Flores’ story about the black eye changed repeatedly over time, although he most consistently claimed he got it in a pick-up basketball game.

That story was refuted by a friend, Jeromy Moon, who was a high school senior at the time. According to the unsealed documents, Moon told investigators Flores showed up to the basketball game with a black eye. When asked how he got it, Moon said Flores claimed he’d woken up with a shiner for no apparent reason. 

FILE - Paul Flores puts on a new N95 mask Aug. 3, 2021, at a preliminary hearing in San Luis Obispo.
FILE – Paul Flores puts on a new N95 mask Aug. 3, 2021, at a preliminary hearing in San Luis Obispo.

David Middlecamp/AP

Court documents also lay out a story told by Jennifer Hudson. Hudson, who was 17 or 18 in the fall of 1996, told investigators she was skateboarding with friends and Flores in San Luis Obispo when a PSA about Smart’s disappearance came on the radio. According to Hudson, Flores called Smart a “bitch” and a “dick tease” and said “he was done playing with her.” Hudson claimed Flores then said he buried Smart’s body. Documents say Hudson was too afraid to tell anyone what she had allegedly heard, telling only one other person, who then called an anonymous tip line in 2004. “[Hudson] has guilt every day for not coming forward earlier, and hopes that her information can bring closure,” court records read. 

Testimony resumes Monday and is expected to last into the fall. 





Source link

Leave a Comment