SALINAS, Calif. (KSBY) – A judge on Friday is set to hear motions filed by Paul Flores’ defense team requesting she grant the man convicted of murdering Kristin Smart a new trial and acquit him while also dismissing the charges.
The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, however, is now asking the court to deny those requests, saying in one of two motion filed Friday that “the claims of misconduct are baseless and the claims of judicial error are incorrect.”
Last October, following a nearly three-month-long trial, a jury found Flores guilty of murdering the 19-year-old Cal Poly freshman in May of 1996. His father, Ruben Flores, was charged as an accessory but acquitted by a separate jury.
READ MORE: The Murder of Kristin Smart Trial Highlights
The motions filed by both sides are expected to be heard Friday before Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe hands down Paul’s sentence.
Defense attorney Robert Sanger is requesting an acquittal and dismissal of charges, “…on the grounds that a rational trier of fact could not find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt based on the state of the evidence at the conclusion of the trial…”
He also requests a new trial, claiming “…prosecutorial errors and the admission of junk science as evidence…” and that there was insufficient evidence to find Flores guilty. The motion also claims the verdict “…was based on a violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial…”
In the court filing, which was submitted to the Monterey County Superior Court on Friday, Feb. 24, Sanger goes on to claim that the prosecution mislead the jury and manipulated flawed evidence to obtain a conviction.
The district attorney’s latest filings mention Sanger’s numerous requests for a new trial while the trial was underway, all of which were denied.
One of the DA’s motions also states, “Even if the prosecutor’s words left some question as to the burden of proof, he (Christopher Peuvrelle) emphasized the prosecution’s burden later in his rebuttal argument: ‘So again, I don’t have to prove this beyond all doubt, it’s just beyond a reasonable doubt. So what Defense is saying, this conspiracy theory that everyone is in, is possible but unreasonable. You still hold the defendant accountable for his crimes so you look at all of the evidence and compare[.]’”
The DA’s Office also denies any prosecutorial error during opening statements, emphasizing in a 33-page motion why the defense’s request for a new trial should be denied and that certain evidence should be allowed.
Paul Flores is facing 25 years to life behind bars.
This story was originally published March 7 by KSBY, an E.W. Scripps Company.