Former Cal Poly students continued to testify in the trial of Paul and Ruben Flores on Tuesday, shedding light on interactions had with Paul Flores and Kristin Smart before her disappearance in 1996.
‘I just can’t recall’: Fleming testifies for second day
Steve Fleming was friends with Kristin Smart and lived in the same residence hall as her. His cross examination began Monday and continued in Tuesday’s hearing.
On Monday, Fleming told the jury about one instance where he had walked by Smart’s dorm room, and Paul Flores was standing inside her doorway while she was at her desk. Fleming said she was “uncomfortable” with him being in her room.
“It wasn’t Kristin — if you knew her and you were a friend, you’d get this big grin,” Fleming said.
In Tuesday’s testimony, Fleming said he only “knew of” Paul Flores and hadn’t hung out with him, prompting Sanger to emphasize that Fleming did not know Flores “at all,” and hadn’t talked to him.
Fleming testified that at least two other women had told him they felt uncomfortable around Flores. He was unable to provide full names or repeat exactly what they said.
“Let’s try to dig up my memory from 25 years ago,” Fleming said.
Fleming said he remembered one of them “felt weird around” Flores, but he didn’t want to “put words in her mouth.”
Sanger repeatedly questioned if these comments were made after Flores had received media attention, but Fleming maintained that these conversations happened before Smart disappeared.
Sanger continued to ask Fleming about a previous interview he had with the FBI in 1999, trying to determine the exact number of times Fleming saw Paul in the Muir common area.
Sanger claimed that Fleming previously told the FBI he saw Flores in Smart’s room around five or six times. On Tuesday, Fleming said he doesn’t remember saying that, but maintained that he saw Paul in the common room at least once.
Sanger said that none of Smart’s other friends saw Flores in her room ever.
“You’re the only person that claims that,” Sanger said.
Fleming hesitated to reach out to law enforcement until he was contacted by the FBI in 1999.
The defense questioned Fleming on why he did not go to the police in 1996, having seen Flores making Smart uncomfortable in the past.
“Do you see me? I’m an East Oakland kid, I’m African American,” Fleming said. “Why I didn’t go to them? I don’t know. I was 18, scared of the police … Where I came from, police didn’t necessarily — I think we can all read in between the lines.”
Crandall Way partygoer says Flores was ‘definitely interested’ in Smart
Smart attended a house party on Crandall Way the night she disappeared. Matt Toomey, a Cal Poly freshman in 1996, arrived at the party around 9 p.m.
About an hour later, a tall girl with “long brown hair” approached Toomey and his roommate Ross Ketchum, and engaged in some “party small talk.” The girl was Smart, who introduced herself as Roxie.
She asked Toomey if Ketchum thought she was attractive. Smart then asked Toomey if he himself thought she was attractive, according to Toomey’s testimony.
After Smart’s conversation with Ketchum and Toomey, Paul Flores approached Toomey and talked with him, saying something along the lines of Smart “being good looking.” Toomey saw that Flores was “definitely interested in Smart.”
After talking about Smart with Flores, the conversation ended and the two parted ways. Toomey did not see any other interactions Flores was engaged in after that.
Citing an initial interview with investigators in 1998, Sanger said that Toomey saw Smart “stumble through the doorway,” at the party, but he only “vaguely” recalled that in court on Tuesday.
“We’re at a party,” Toomey said. “I’m not monitoring what she’s doing.”
Toomey also mentioned a friend, Trevor Boelter, who was talking with and kissing Smart at some point during the party. When asked by Sanger, Toomey said that he did not see Smart and Boelter go into the bathroom together.
Later in the evening, Toomey noticed Smart on the lawn, laying on her side. Standing about 3 or 4 feet away from Smart, Toomey and Ketchum offered to take Smart home, but her speech, slurred, responded that she did not want to leave and to “leave her alone.”
The two offered to walk Smart back again, concerned that it “was not safe for her to be laying there.” According to Toomey, Smart told them something along the lines of “I’m fine, leave me alone.”
“She didn’t want our help,” Toomey said. “We left her alone.”
After leaving the party around midnight, Toomey then went downhill to an apartment of a girl he was dating at the time. Meanwhile, Ketchum went back to the dorms.
Toomey, along with every partygoer who was at the party on Crandall Way, was interviewed by law enforcement soon after Smart went missing. It was only after Flores was named as a person of interest that Toomey knew his name, he said.
According to prosecutor Christopher Peuvrelle, he and Toomey talked over Zoom last spring, saying he encouraged Toomey to “tell the truth.” During the call, Peuvrelle provided documents to Toomey to refresh his memory, upon his request.
Trevor Boelter, kissed by Smart at party, takes the stand
Another former student, Trevor Boelter, also attended the party on Crandall Way. Before arriving, Boelter went to another party down the street with his roommate, later meeting his best friend at the party on Crandall Way.
“It was not a very big party,” Boelter said. Around 20 people were in attendance, he recalled.
After someone handed him a bottle of Budweiser beer, a “very tall girl,” Smart, approached Boelter.
“[She] comes up to me and says ‘hi, I’m Roxie,’ kisses me,” Boelter said.
Boelter said she grabbed his hand and took him into the bathroom. Boleter described her as a “gorgeous, beautiful girl” with “long dark hair.”
Boelter’s testimony was cut short for time and resumed Wednesday morning.