Judge denies motion seeking new trial for Paul Flores

Posted at 3:50 PM, March 10, 2023 and last updated 4:55 PM, May 2, 2023

A judge on Friday denied two motions seeking a new trial, dismissal of charges and acquittal for Paul Flores.

Paul’s defense attorney Robert Sanger filed the motion for a new trial late last month along with a motion requesting a dismissal of charges and acquittal following Paul’s conviction last October for the murder of Kristin Smart.

side by side photos of Kristin Smart and Paul Flores

FILE – (L) Kristin Smart, (R) Paul Flores (FBI, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office)

The prosecution had filed its own set of motions requesting the judge deny the defense’s requests.

Sanger argued that a reasonable trier of fact couldn’t have found Flores guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and said there was what he called prosecutorial “error.”

Sanger also said in his motions that witnesses were not truthful in their testimony and that the science presented during the trial was junk science

The district attorney’s office filed motions requesting the judge deny the motions.

Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe started the proceeding Friday morning by saying she had carefully reviewed the motions and that Sanger did not need to go over each point.

Sanger did, however, highlight several of his concerns. He also alleged there was new information about the cadaver dogs brought up during the trial and had subpoenaed someone to show up at court Friday morning.

Judge O’Keefe said she would not hear from him and would not compel him to talk to their investigator and asked that he be notified he could leave the courthouse.

Due to the allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, Crystal Siler with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office addressed the court on behalf of trial prosecutor Christopher Peuvrelle before he then addressed the other issues.

Paul Flores stands with his attorney in court.

Paul Flores, right, listens after a jury found him guilty of murdering Cal Poly student Kristin Smart in Monterey County Superior Court on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Salinas, Calif. Jurors unanimously found Flores guilty of first-degree murder. (Laura Dickinson/The Tribune via AP, Pool)

Judge O’Keefe then read a summary of the evidence in the case, stating there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction and would deny the request for acquittal.

She said many, if not all, of the evidence issues had already been addressed in pre-trial motions or during the trial, adding that she respectfully denied the request for a new trial.

Flores is set to be sentenced Friday at 1 p.m. He’s facing 25 years to life behind bars.

Paul Flores and his father, Ruben, were arrested and charged in April 2021 in connection with the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart.

The men were on trial together for nearly three months in Salinas but had separate juries who handed down different verdicts.

While Paul was convicted of murdering Kristin, Ruben was acquitted of charges that he helped his son hide Kristin’s body.

Paul has remained in custody since his arrest.

Side by side photo of Paul Flores and Ruben Flores

This combination photo shows suspects Paul Flores (L) and Ruben Flores (R), who were arrested Tuesday, April 13, 2021, for the murder of Kristin Smart. Flores, the longtime suspect in the 25-year-old disappearance of the California college student was arrested Tuesday, April 13, 2021, on suspicion of murder, and his father was booked in jail as an accessory to the crime. Flores, 44, who was the last person seen with Smart on the California Polytechnic State University campus in San Luis Obispo before she vanished in 1996, was taken into custody in the Los Angeles area. (San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Several people were late arriving at the Salinas courthouse Friday morning due to weather and a long delay caused by flooding along Highway 101 near Salinas.

This story was originally published March 10, 2023, by KSBY in San Luis Obispo, an E.W. Scripps Company.