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‘The end is near’: Kristin Smart murder trial drawing to a close

Paul Flores
Paul Flores is present at the Kristin Smart murder trial inside the Monterey County Courthouse in Salinas on Sept. 29, 2022. (Chloe Jones/SLO Tribune)

SALINAS, Calif. – The Kristin Smart murder trial resumed Thursday in Salinas after being off on Wednesday.

Court was delayed for three hours Thursday while Judge Jennifer O'Keefe heard a motion by Paul Flores Defense Attorney Robert Sanger, asking that a juror be dismissed due to comments made on a social media page she operates.

Some of the comments were related to subject matters discussed during the trial.

However, the judge denied the motion after hearing the juror explain she has followed all of the court's strict rules, and the juror added she hasn't been on her social media site during the now 11-week long trial.

Prosecutor Chris Peuvrelle later presented a brief rebuttal to the defense's case, which rested earlier this week.

He called back to the stand Angela Butler, a scientist that performed tests on soil samples collected at the Arroyo Grande home of Ruben Flores – she testified some of those samples contained blood.

O'Keefe also passed along information to the two juries on how the trial will conclude.

There are two juries, one for Paul, the other for his father Ruben, who is accused of being an accessory.

Earlier in the week, O'Keefe told the jurors "the end is near."

The judge said closing arguments will be held next week – Monday for Paul, Tuesday for Ruben.

Each jury will begin deliberations immediately after closing arguments.

The verdicts will be read separately, but will be announced only after both verdicts are decided. Once the second verdict has been finalized, O'Keefe said the court will call jurors from the first juror to return to the courthouse within 40 minutes.

Court will resume at the Monterey County Courthouse on Friday at 9:30 a.m.

Both sides will go over some procedural issues, including finalizing closing argument exhibits and jury instructions.

Paul Flores is accused of killing Smart, who was a 19-year-old Cal Poly student at the time of her disappearance in May 1996, and Ruben Flores, Paul's father, is being charged as an accessory to the crime.

Article Topic Follows: Crime & Courts
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Dave Alley

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