SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The man charged in the death of Kristin Smart appeared in court on Wednesday, but avoided facing additional rape charges.
Paul Flores appeared in San Luis Obispo Superior Court for a motions hearing in what is sure to be a lengthy legal process.
The hearing opened with Flores' attorney Robert Sanger asking Judge Craig van Rooyen to close the proceeding to the media and public. Van Rooyen denied that request by the Flores team.
Two additional rape charges were among the subjects of Wednesday's motions hearing. Prosecutors motioned to amend the original charges against Flores to include two rape charges in Los Angeles County from 2011 and 2017.
The prosecution argued that Flores has shown a "history" of raping women who were either drunk or intoxicated. Prosecutors said investigators have uncovered evidence of videos on Flores' hard drives depicting rape and rape of intoxicated women. Investigators also found online searches related to rape, they said.
Among the evidence was homemade videos of Flores with women who appeared to be intoxicated, as well as the discovery of prescription drugs that could be used in the commission of date rape.
Prosecutors said there may be additional victims of rape that have not yet been addressed in the proceedings, including two other alleged instances in 2007 and 2008.
"Paul Flores has raped so many women, it's hard to keep track," Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle said.
Flores' legal team responded to the accusations and argued against adding additional charges. Sanger said there was no evidence of rape involving his client.
Sanger also said there was "zero evidence" of murder in the case of Kristin Smart and said there was a chance Smart could actually still be alive today.
Smart's body has not been recovered by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office. And although it is rare for the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office to prosecute a murder charge without a body, the office has successfully prosecuted similar cases in the past. Prosecutors alleged earlier this year that Smart's body was moved from the home of Paul's father, Ruben, as recently as February 2020.
Sanger called the request to amend the existing charges to include the new rape charges a "publicity stunt." Sanger said the additional charges were an attempt to prejudice the jury.
By 3:30 p.m., van Rooyen had ruled against the prosecution and the motion was denied. Flores will not face additional rape charges from Los Angeles County.
Additionally, the preliminary hearing was pushed back to Aug. 2.
His father has been charged as an accessory to the crime. Both men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Paul Flores remains in custody during the trial. Ruben Flores was released on bail back in April.