Tim Davis, a Cal Poly junior in 1996, is one of several alumni who’ve testified about the off-campus party Kristin Smart and Paul Flores attended the night she went missing. Yet his role in the case has meant having “to relive that night for 26 years,” Davis said.
Davis took the stand in the People v. Flores trial on Monday, sharing his memory of Smart at the party, and helping to walk her home that night.
In a 2021 preliminary hearing, Davis testified that he didn’t see anyone else but Flores as “the guilty person in this case.” On Monday, Davis reiterated this sentiment.
Taking the stand on Monday, Davis said the party was celebrating birthdays for two people born one day apart. Most of the people that attended were close friends of Davis.
When Davis testified on Monday, he confirmed that he saw Kristin Smart at the party, alone, and identified a photo of her.
“At one point… I remember looking back and Kristin Smart was on the ground and Paul Flores was next to her,” Davis said. “It appeared to me that they had fallen on the ground.”
Davis recalled that he was standing a few feet away from Smart and Flores. Smart was laying down with Flores facing her, the two laughing together. This was one of the “few” times Davis saw Smart and Flores together at the party.
During the trial on July 22, former student Kendra Koed testified that when Smart fell, Flores was standing over her, not laying next to her. Other alumni testified about the “commotion” of Smart falling, none of whom remembered Flores falling with her. Davis added that he wasn’t watching her the entire time at the party so “she could’ve fallen many times.”
“I can vividly remember the whole night… I did not drink enough that I felt like I was drunk,” Davis said. “I’ve had to relive that night for 26 years because of this case.”
Eventually, the two people whose birthday it was went downtown to the bars, leaving 15 people at the house. Many of those people remaining were freshmen heading back to their dorms.
Davis drove to the party, then let a friend drive his car after to bring home several people, including Davis’ college girlfriend and now wife.
Before walking home himself, Davis saw Cheryl Manzer, previously known as Cheryl Anderson, one of his friends. Near Manzer was Smart, laying down in overgrown grass. When he saw Smart, Davis “quickly realized that she was in no capacity… to do anything.”
“She just said to me, ‘I’m cold. I wanna go home,’” Davis said of Smart. Davis picked up Smart who was “moving slow” and “had been drinking,” and walked with Manzer to take Smart back to the dorms.
Soon into the walk, Flores joined the three of them, Davis said. Davis thinks that Paul Flores exited the house from the door to the backyard, saying that Paul Flores “just kinda came out of the darkness.”
After walking around 100 yards to the Health Center, Flores said “I got her from here.” Davis said that Manzer told him that she would walk with Flores and Smart to go home since Davis lived in the opposite direction.
Davis gave Smart over to Manzer who confirmed Davis should go, Flores then supporting Smart’s weight that felt like a “sack of potatoes,” Davis said. While they were walking, Davis does not remember seeing other groups in front of them.
Davis did not know where Smart lived, but remembers Manzer telling him she knew of Smart and knew that Smart lived at the dorms. Flores did not ask Smart where she lived, Davis said.
Flores “woke up” with a black eye, high school friend says
Jeremy Moon, a high schooler at Arroyo Grande High School in 1996, was friends with Paul Flores for two years at that point, and the two would hang out from time to time. During the Memorial Day weekend, Moon and Flores hung out, though Moon said he does not remember what they did.
On Sunday, May 26, Moon noticed Flores had a black eye.
“He said that he woke up with it,” Moon said.
The following day, they played basketball with two other people.
When asked by San Luis Obispo Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle about Flores’ bruise, Moon said he didn’t remember Flores or anyone else getting hit in the face during the game. Flores did not mention Smart was missing, or that he was the last person to see her, Moon said.
Cal Poly Police investigator testifies about Flores’ nervousness, scrapes
Lawrence Kennedy was an investigator for Cal Poly Police in 2003 and a police officer for more than 18 years. He was assigned to Smart’s disappearance in May 1996, contacted on Monday of Memorial Day weekend.
On Tuesday, May 28 Kennedy interviewed Flores in his room in the Santa Lucia residence hall.
Flores “basically said he didn’t know who [Smart] was,” Kennedy said of the interview.
“He was a little nervous… I noticed that his breathing was a little bit, uh, heavier than normal,” Kennedy recounted on Monday.
Flores told Kennedy his nervousness was because he had an outstanding warrant for driving without a driver’s license, which he had taken care of the day before, Monday, in Arroyo Grande.
In this interview, Flores said he went back to his hall after dropping Smart off somewhere around the intersection between Perimeter and Grand Avenue and took a shower, talked to another student in the hall, then eventually went to bed at 5 a.m.
Kennedy has never found the student Flores said he talked to in the hall before going to sleep that night.
The next interview occurred that Thursday, May 30 at the police station, where Flores repeated that the only physical contact he had with Smart was two hugs.
During this interview, Kennedy noticed “a scrape of some kind” on one of Flores’ knees. San Luis Obispo Police Lt. Robert Cudworth suggested that Flores might have gotten these injuries from playing basketball.
Flores later told the detectives that he did get these scratches playing basketball, but Kennedy noted that he only said this after hearing Cudworth suggest it..
The trial will resume Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.