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Former FBI agent analyzes Kristin Smart murder trial

Dan Payne
Karen Cruz-Orduña/KEYT

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – A former FBI agent analyzed the Kristin Smart murder trial as the defense team began presenting its case earlier this week.

Former FBI agent Dan Payne says he is careful about analyzing the Kristin Smart murder trial because it is still ongoing.

“I don't want to say anything one way or the other that would prejudice either side in the case,” said Payne.

The former FBI agent said this case is a difficult one.

“There is nobody. The case is over 25 years old. So it is a very difficult case to try,” said Payne.

Payne said in a civil case, the bar to prove guilt is lower, but when it comes to a criminal case, it is a lot more challenging.

“The prosecution has a very hard uphill battle to convince the 12 members of the jury,” said Payne. “All 12 members that either one of the defendants is guilty without a reasonable doubt.”

Right now, the former FBI agent says the murder trial is in a phase of what he calls “hired guns.”

“There are expert witnesses on both sides. They’re both expert witnesses, (they) are paid, and one, of course, is definitely going to be differential from the prosecution or the government,” said Payne. “And the other is going to be differential to the defense.”

Ultimately, Payne says it is essential to keep an open mind and pay close attention to closing arguments.

“Only argue elements that are in evidence,” said Payne. "They can’t bring anything new, so they are going to be very careful to make sure they covered everything that they want to cover and be able to argue that in closing arguments.”

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Karen Cruz-Orduña

Karen Cruz-Orduña is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Karen, click here.

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