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The California juries overseeing the ongoing trials for Paul Flores and his father – the pair accused in connection with Kristin Smart’s disappearance and death – heard Wednesday from a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by Flores after meeting him at a bar, according to reports from inside the courtroom.
The trials for Paul and Ruben Flores returned to a Monterey County courtroom in Salinas, California, on Wednesday, after a brief hiatus. 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 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.
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On Wednesday, jurors heard testimony from a woman named Rhonda, who described meeting Paul Flores at a Redondo Beach, California, bar called The Thirsty Club in January 2008, YOB Podcast reported.
Rhonda reportedly told the court Flores arrived at the bar around closing time and appeared to have ridden a bicycle there. The group invited him to join them at her house, but Flores responded that he first had to stop at home, the podcast reported. He invited Rhonda to go with him to his house in Lawndale and the pair walked.
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The woman testified that the alcohol had worn off on the walk to Flores’ house. When they arrived, he offered her water, and brought the full glass from his kitchen, the tweets stated.
Rhonda said Flores was in his kitchen for a period of time before he asked if she wanted a “house tour,” YOB Podcast reported.
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“I remember going into his bedroom,” she reportedly testified, “and I honestly do not remember much after that.”
She testified that she fell unconscious and awoke to find a naked Flores on top of her on his bed, the tweets state.
“Was this with your consent?” the prosecutor reportedly asked her. She responded, “No.”
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“I don’t even remember how we got to that point,” Rhonda reportedly told the court. “I remember coming to a few times.”
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 report.
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According to YOB Podcast tweets, Rhonda then described how Flores began having anal sex with her, despite that she “would have never consented to that ever.”
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“The next time I came to, I remember crying next to the bed, curled up,” she testified.
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 a woman, and then 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.
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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.