Paul Flores trial: Kristin Smart's accused killer told cops he believed she 'went off' with someone, was dead

Paul Flores, on trial for the murder of Kristin Smart in California, told investigators in 1996 he thought the missing college student "got off with someone" and was probably dead, according to courtroom reports.
Flores was in court Thursday but his father Ruben, accused of helping his son hide Smart's body, was absent. Ruben Flores' defense team and the jury overseeing his case were excluded from the day's trial but returned on Friday.
The court case will not be televised or live streamed, in accordance with a judge's decision. A handful of journalists - including the person behind the Your Own Backyard (YOB) podcast, who is credited with taking a renewed interest in the case - have been reporting from the courtroom amid the media restrictions.
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The jury in the Paul Flores case heard Thursday from Bill Hanley, a senior investigator with the San Luis Obispo County Attorney's Office in 1996. Hanley was recruited in late May to assist police in the missing persons case. Smart was a 19-year-old freshman at California Polytechnic State University when she was last seen in the early hours of May 25, 1996.
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Hanley questioned Flores about Smart's disappearance at least twice, on May 31 and June 19, 1996. He told the court that during the first interview with Flores, he asked what he thought might have happened to Smart, according to tweets from the YOB podcast.
Flores is said to have responded that he thought Smart "got off with someone," the tweets read. He reportedly said he believes Smart is no longer alive - and is reportedly the only person Hanley interviewed who made such a suggestion.
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Hanley told the jury he chose to speak to Flores the second time because he had "inconsistencies and untruths in his story," tweets said. Prosecutors then played a never-before-seen video of Flores' June 19 interview.
Among those inconsistencies were Flores' many replies about how he got the black eye. As previously reported, Flores initially told investigators he sustained the injury after being elbowed in the face while playing basketball.
But a friend later denied this claim. Flores admitted to Hanley on June 19 that he wasn't telling the truth, but called it "a lie" and "a little white lie," according to the tweets. Instead, Flores allegedly told Hanley he injured himself on the steering wheel of his Ford Ranger while trying to remove his stereo.
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"But that wasn't important," Flores allegedly told investigators. "That was days later."
One of the investigators asked, "What if Roxy punched you in the eye?"
Flores reportedly replied, "It doesn't matter if I omit small details."
According to the tweets, both the prosecution and the defense spent considerable time going through Hanley's reports from interviews with Flores, line by line.
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Paul Flores has been charged with Smart's murder, while his father is accused of subsequently acting as an accomplice.
Smart was a student at Cal Poly's San Luis Obispo campus in 1996 when she was allegedly heavily intoxicated after an off-campus party on Crandall Way with Paul Flores. She was brought back from the party by three people - two people, a man and a woman, and then Flores. The others slowly backed down after Flores allegedly insisted several times that he could get smart home safely.
She was never seen again.
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Kristin Smart disappeared on May 25, 1996 while attending California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and has not been heard from since. Axel Köster/Sygma via Getty Images
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The state said Flores killed Smart in his dorm when he tried to rape her when they were both freshmen. A massive search ensued.
Separate juries were selected from a pool of more than 1,500 Monterey County residents to handle each case individually but simultaneously. The process is expected to take four months.
Disappearance of Kristin Smart
American who disappeared in 1996

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