By KAREN VELIE
A San Luis Obispo County judge Wednesday refused to allow prosecutors to add two Los Angeles rape charges to the case against Paul Flores, charged in the 1996 murder of Kristin Smart.
Judge Craig van Rooyen said there was no evidence of a rape in the Kristin Smart case. Without that, prosecutors could not add the rape cases. They could not use a stronger case to support a weaker case, van Rooyen said.
SLO County Deputy Dist. Atty. Christopher Peuvrelle had argued that Flores had a history of raping drugged or intoxicated women. He said there was a nexus to the murder charge and the alleged rapes.
“Its the same MO, Paul Flores waits until the end of the night, targets women who are too drunk or drugged, and takes them home,” Peuvrelle said. “Paul Flores is a defendant who likes to rape and drug women.”
In a file labeled “practice,” Paul Flores stored homemade rape videos of himself having sex and sodomizing women, Peuvrelle said. During a 2020 raid of Flores’ San Pedro home, deputies discovered multiple rape videos with titles like “Drugged and raped while passed out” and “Blond high school girl in skirt gets raped.”
Investigators also found two bottles of date rape drugs in Flores’ home, Peuvrelle said.
Robert Sanger, Flores’ defense attorney, accused the prosecution of attempting to bolster a nonexistent case against his client with propensity evidence by adding the rape charges from Los Angeles.
Sanger also criticized the SLO County Sheriff’s Office investigation. He argued that on June 6, 1996, investigators concluded that Paul Flores killed Kristin Smart. That, Sanger said, resulted in investigators failing to follow other leads.
Sanger suggested that any number of men would have a motive to kill Kristin Smart as he attacked her reputation, life, past relationships and personal history. Denise Smart, Kristin Smart’s mother, was left in tears.
After denying Puevrelle’s motion to amend the complaint and add the rape charges, Judge van Rooyen moved the preliminary hearing from July 20 to Aug. 2. The preliminary hearing will determine whether van Rooyen decides that Flores should be put on trial for murder.
It is now up to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office to file charges on the alleged rapes.