The defense rested its case Tuesday in the Kristin Smart murder trial — more than a quarter-century after the 19-year-old mysteriously vanished from her California campus.
Paul Flores, 45, the teen’s accused killer, and his father, Ruben Flores, 81, who is charged as an accessory after the fact, have been on trial for two months in Monterey County Superior Court.
Smart was last seen with the younger Flores on May 25, 1996, on a street near her dorm at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.
Prosecutors say that Paul Flores took Smart to his dorm and murdered her while trying to rape her. His father allegedly helped him bury her remains behind his home in nearby Arroyo Grande. They later dug up her body and moved it.
Her remains were never found, but investigators discovered that the soil behind the home had been disturbed and identified the presence of human blood, which was too degraded to extract a DNA sample.
A witness, Jennifer Hudson, told jurors that Paul Flores confessed to the killing in 1996, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
"That b--ch was a d--k tease. I was done playing with her and I put her (or buried her) under my place in Huasna," Hudson testified Flores told her.
The defense team argued that Smart may still be alive and challenged the credibility of the key prosecution witnesses.
Paul Flores is accused of drugging and raping four women in the Los Angeles area years after Smart vanished.
The father-son duo were arrested in April 2021 after a popular podcast about her disappearance revived interest in the case.
Closing statements were scheduled to begin Thursday.