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Witness details Kristin Smart, Paul Flores’s interactions on last night she was seen, trial continues

SALINAS, Calif. – The Kristin Smart murder trial continued in a Salinas courtroom on Monday as the jury heard from a witness who described Smart's interactions with defendant Paul Flores on the last night she was seen before she went missing.

Flores is accused of killing Smart, who was a 19-year-old Cal Poly student at the time of her disappearance in May 1996, because he was reportedly the last one to see her alive after an off-campus party that spring. Paul's father, Ruben Flores, is charged as an accessory to the crime.

Timothy Davis, who attended the party at 135 Crandall Way before Smart went missing, testified before the jury on Monday.

Davis, Smart, and Flores all attended the same party.

Davis talked about interactions he saw with Smart and Flores after an extensive period of going through photos of the house and describing the layout of the interior and exterior.

Davis said the two appeared to be at the party, which he described as a birthday party for two of his friends, by themselves.

He said that he saw Smart and Flores by the bar several times together, and at one point, he heard a loud thud and looked down to see that both Smart and Flores were on the ground, indicating that they had fallen together.

Davis said that many of the partygoers left to go to the bars in downtown San Luis Obispo around midnight and that he was responsible for getting people out of the house and on their way home as the party was breaking up.

He let a friend borrow his car to drive multiple people back to the Cal Poly dorms, he said, adding that he saw a good friend, Cheryl Anderson, outside the house soon after the car left.

Davis said Anderson lived at the dorms and he told her that she had just missed getting a ride back.

As that interaction was happening, he noticed Smart laying face down on a small lawn that separated the Crandall Way house from a neighboring house.

"I looked to the side and I could see Kristin Smart laying on the ground. It looked like she was trying to sleep," Davis said. "I went over to her and told her, 'you need to get up and leave.'"

Davis described Smart's outfit as "short shorts, a short shirt, and tennis shoes," and said that it appeared she had "goose pimples" on her side.

He quickly realized that "she was in no capacity to do anything," he said.

Davis said that Smart was responsive and knew that she had to leave, but that she did not have the capacity to walk on her own.

He recalled that Smart spoke to him, saying only "I'm cold and I want to go home."

He picked her up off the lawn and she clung to him with her arms around his shoulders, Davis said. He decided a short time after that he would walk Anderson and Smart back to the dorms.

Within moments of beginning the walk, that's when Flores joined them, Davis said.

He just kind of came out of the darkness," indicating Flores emerged from the side of the Crandall Way house, Davis said.

After about 5-10 minutes, the group of four – Anderson, Smart, Flores, and Davis – stopped near the back of the Cal Poly Health Center. Flores then said he would take Smart from here and indicated that he would help assist her back to the dorms, Davis said.

Davis passed Smart, who was still needing complete assistance to walk, over to Flores. Davis described Smart's physical condition as her being a "sack of potatoes," and "slumped weight." When asked by prosecutor Chriss Peuvrelle if he thought Flores was intoxicated, Davis said Flores didn't appear like he was unable to walk.

Puevrelle asked Davis what was the last thing he saw, and he replied that he looked back to see if Flores could physically support Smart while they were walking away. He also recalled seeing the glow of the dorms off in the distance, indicating that they were just a short walk away.

Peuvrelle asked Davis about his level of intoxication that night and how he is able to remember the events. Davis responded that he had several beers at the party, but that he remembers everything vividly and he was never drunk at any point.

"I’ve had to relive that night for 26 years and had to think about it, recollect about it, and remember it," he said. "Everything that came from the party has led to 26 years-plus to sitting in this courtroom now.”

During cross-examination, defense attorney Robert Sanger asked if Davis was annoyed by his involvement in the case.

"Over 26 years now, I've had numerous people come to my house, people send letters, people call my house regarding this case," Davis said.

Sanger asked Davis about receiving handwritten letters from someone named Dennis Mahon, an individual who previously investigated the case as a private citizen and was a very vocal advocate for Smart and her family. Davis said he was annoyed to receive the letters.

Sanger asked Davis if he knew Smart prior to the party, to which Davis replied that he hadn't and added that Smart introduced herself as Roxy when they met.

Sanger then asked about an interview Davis conducted on July 1, 1996, with law enforcement that contained questions about Davis' actions at the same time he found Smart laying down on the grass.

Sanger pointed out that in the interview, Davis said that he saw Flores outside the Crandall Way house with other partygoers from a fraternity party taking place across the street. Davis said it was possible that there were other people outside on Crandall Way.

He said he remembered Anderson and Smart in the driveway, and as soon as they started walking, Flores came out from the left of him – from the Crandall Way house – and joined them. Sanger, later on, questioned Davis again about his memory of how Flores joined in on the walk back to the dorm with Smart and Anderson.

He reiterated that Davis said he saw Flores outside with another group of people in the July 1996 interview.

"Let me be clear. Paul could have been anywhere. I turned around and start walking with Kristin. When I start walking up the hill, he comes from the left and joins us," Davis said.

Sanger read two questions that were submitted by the jury, one asking if Davis could tell if Smart's speech was slurred or hard to understand.

He said it was "slurred and quiet."

Your News Channel has a crew at the courthouse and will continue updating this story throughout the day.

Article Topic Follows: San Luis Obispo County
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Jade Martinez-Pogue

Jade Martinez-Pogue is the Assignment Editor and web journalist at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Jade, click here

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