Wednesday 5 October 2022 09:28 PM Closing arguments heard for man suspected of hiding Kristin Smart's body under ... trends now
The closing arguments have wrapped up in the trial of Ruben Flores - who is accused of helping his alleged murderer son bury missing teen Kristin Smart's body underneath his deck for nearly two decades.
The 81-year-old allegedly helped bury the slain student, 19, behind his home in the nearby community of Arroyo Grande and later dug up the remains and moved them.
Both him and his son Paul Flores, who is accused of murdering Smart, have pleaded not guilty.
Deputy DA Christopher Peuvrelle told the court on Wednesday: 'Justice delayed does not have to be justice denied. Yes, 26 years have passed.
'In the years since, Ruben Flores continued to hide Kristin’s body under his deck, and Paul Flores continued to rape women.
'We don’t have an intact body — but we do have human blood.'
Ruben Flores, now 81, is charged with accessory after the fact. His son is on trial for murder
The freshman was last seen after a party in May 1996. Investigators have been searching for her killer ever since. Paul Flores, who was also a 19-year-old freshman at the time of her death, was charged with her murder in 2021
Behind lattice work beneath the deck of his large house on a dead end street off Tally Ho Road, archaeologists working for police in March 2021 found a soil disturbance about the size of a casket and the presence of human blood, prosecutors said
He told the jury: 'Your role here is simple. Did. This. Happen? That’s all you need to decide. What happens after this is up to Judge O’Keefe.'
Neither verdict will be read until both juries have finished deliberating.
Their verdicts are independent of one another - meaning that one can be found guilty even if the other is not.
Once both decisions are in, they will be read separately back-to-back.
In March 2021, detectives served a search warrant for the father's home.
Behind lattice work beneath the deck of his large house on a dead end street off Tally Ho Road, archaeologists working for police in March found a soil disturbance about the size of a casket and the presence of human blood, prosecutors said.
The blood was too degraded to extract a DNA sample. While a blood expert said it was human blood, the test used did not rule out the possibility it was from a ferret or primate, though court records said no remains of either such animal were found there.
A lawsuit filed against Ruben Flores alleged that 'under cover of darkness,' the father and unnamed accomplices moved the body four days after investigators searched his house.
Closing arguments for Rubens' son Paul, 45, concluded on Tuesday after the court heard that Smart was 'discarded worse than a pet.'
Prosecutor Peuvrelle asked the jury to find Paul Flores guilty of first-degree murder and summarized the evidence that had been presented during the trial that started on July 18.
'Sometimes we tell our kids monsters do not exist, but they do. We've seen one in this trial. I ask you to render a truthful verdict that Paul Flores is guilty of first-degree murder,' he told the jury.
Paul Flores, now 45, is charged with the murder of Smart in 1996
Search warrants for issued for the Arroyo Grande home of Paul Flores' father, Ruben Flores, 81
Prosecutor Chris Peuvrelle made his closing arguments on Wednesday for the trial of Ruben Flores
Judge Jennifer O'Keefe will sentence the pair, if they are found to be guilty by the jury
The prosecution told jurors the 'truth is, Kristin Smart is dead and the evidence is clear that she was killed by Paul Flores.'
Robert Sanger, the attorney