NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
Warning: The following contains information that some may consider graphic in nature.
A defense attorney representing the man accused of murdering Kristin Smart more than 25 years ago in California grilled the woman who alleged his client sexually assaulted her years after Smart’s disappearance, according to reports.
Jurors heard testimony on Wednesday from a woman identified as Rhonda Doe, who described how Paul Flores, the man charged with Smart’s killing, sexually assaulted her while she was in an out of consciousness in 2008.
Paul Flores, now 45, has been charged with Smart’s murder. Ruben Flores, his 81-year-old father, was charged with acting as an accessory after the fact. Smart was a 19-year-old college freshman at California Polytechnic State University in 1996 when she was last seen with the younger Flores.
The trial proceedings are not being televised or live-streamed, pursuant to a judge’s ruling. A handful of journalists — including KSBY.com, and the person behind the “Your Own Backyard” (YOB) Podcast that is credited with renewing interest in the case — have been reporting from inside the courtroom amid the media limitations.
Doe detailed her encounter with Paul Flores during her testimony earlier in the day on Wednesday, when she described meeting the man at a Redondo Beach, California, bar called The Thirsty Club in January 2008, YOB Podcast reported.
She walked with him to his Lawndale home, and she said he was “acting normal” and “being polite” on their way. At the house, she said Flores gave her a glass of water before he returned to his kitchen for a period of time. He then allegedly asked if she wanted a “house tour.”
“I remember going into his bedroom,” she reportedly testified, “and I honestly do not remember much after that.”
She went on: “One time, Paul was asking me what his name was. I couldn’t remember it, and he seemed pretty satisfied with that. I came to another time to him putting a ball gag in my mouth, which he said was so we wouldn’t wake up his roommate,” according to the YOB Podcast tweets.
Doe said she did not report the incident to police at the time.
“I was confused at the time,” she said, according to the tweets. “I remembered so little of it. I also knew that rape cases rarely get tried. There seemed to be no point.”
She said she ultimately told authorities about the assault “last year.”
During cross-examination with defense attorney Robert Sanger, Doe acknowledged that she was a student at Cal Poly – the same university attended by Flores and Smart – in the fall of 1995, but left the school in 1996, according to the tweets.
She also conceded that she was familiar with Smart’s missing person cases, but did not know Flores was a person of interest.
“You don’t recall following the news from San Luis Obispo?” Sanger reportedly asked. She responded that she “definitely was not.”
When asked, she also said she did not remember whether Flores’ dogs were barking when they arrived at his home.
“You don’t recall a lot about that night,” Sanger reportedly said.
“You said Paul asked you during sex what his name was, and you didn’t know. But you knew his name,” Sanger went on, according to the tweets.
“I did,” Doe responded, “but at that time, I was unable to recall it. It’s very confusing waking up with someone on top of you. I didn’t know what was happening.”
Sanger asked if Flores later went to visit her, to which she responded: “He showed up at my house.”
Doe acknowledged that Flores had tried to call her, but she had blocked his phone call.
Sanger asked Doe why, when she reported her experience with Flores in 2021, she did not include that she had was a Cal Poly student around the time of Smart’s disappearance, according to KSBY. She reportedly responded that she did, but did not know at the time that Flores was a person of interest – only that Smart was a missing person.
Smart was a student at Cal Poly’s San Luis Obispo campus in 1996 when she was allegedly heavily intoxicated, with Paul Flores, after an off-campus party on Crandall Way. She was walked back from the party by three people — two people, a man and woman, and Flores. The others slowly peeled off after Flores allegedly insisted multiple times that he could get Smart home safely.
She was never seen again.
The state has said Flores killed Smart in his dorm room while he tried to rape her when they were both freshmen. A massive search ensued.
Dual juries were selected from a pool of more than 1,500 Monterey County residents to oversee each case separately but simultaneously. The trial is expected to last months.