By KAREN VELIE
The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office is moving to add two charges of rape of an intoxicated woman in its case against Paul Flores, charged with the 1996 murder of Kristin Smart. The charges involve women in Los Angeles County. The identities of the women were not made public.
Smart, a freshman at Cal Poly, went to a party at a fraternity house the night of May 24, 1996. Cal Poly senior Tim Davis helped organize the party. He told investigators that he spotted a tall girl later identified as Smart sprawled on a lawn next door, apparently passed out, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Smart was in no condition to walk home alone, Davis said. He and another student, Cheryl Anderson, were preparing to walk her back to her dorm when Flores volunteered to help. Smart was last seen walking home with him, authorities said. Her parents reported her missing
Flores is suspected of killing Smart while raping or attempting to rape her, District Attorney Dan Dow said at a press conference in April.
During a hearing on Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Craig van Rooyen asked Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle to file a brief on his motion to amend the complaint to include the two rape cases. Video evidence shows women who appear intoxicated or unconscious, persons familiar with the case said.
Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Jonathan Tippet, head of the agency’s Robbery-Homicide Division, confirmed the SLO County District Attorney’s Office plans to charge Flores with two rapes he allegedly committed in Los Angeles County, assaults Tippet’s department investigated.
Tippet refuted rumors the LA District Attorney’s Office had previously rejected the cases.
The California criminal code allows separate crimes to be heard in a prosecution for a different crime. Judge van Rooyen directed the attorneys to look at “People v. Nguyen,” a case in which a judge allowed rape charges to be joined with a case in a county other than where the rapes occurred. California Penal Code 954 allows separate crimes committed against different persons in different counties to be tried together where the court finds “common elements of substantial importance.”
During searches of Paul Flores’ home in San Pedro and his parents homes, investigators gathered evidence, including video recordings of alleged sexual assaults, some of which they said will be used at trial.
In 2013, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office reviewed a rape allegation against Paul Flores stemming from an incident in Redondo Beach, but decided there was not enough evidence, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In 2016, the Daily Beast reported four women had come forward with accusations Paul Flores sexually assaulted them. The alleged incidents occurred between 1994 and approximately 2002 in both San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles counties. The Statute of Limitations has now passed on those cases.
Judge Van Rooyen plans to hear arguments on the motion to add the rape charges at a July 14 hearing.
A preliminary hearing, expected to last 12 days, is scheduled to begin on July 20. During the preliminary hearing, prosecutors and defense attorneys can present evidence. Judge van Rooyen will decide if there is sufficient evidence to move forward with the case.