Paul Flores during a recent court appearance in his trial for the murder of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart.
Paul Flores during a recent court appearance in his trial for the murder of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart. (Brittany Tom / NBC News Dateline / Pool photo)

San Luis Obispo Tribune Editor’s Note: This is another in a series of stories examining hundreds of improperly sealed documents in the Kristin Smart trial. The Tribune obtained the documents by joining with three other media companies to form a coalition that took the issue to court. The coalition won its argument, and the documents were unsealed. This story contains descriptions of sexual assault and child pornography that may be troubling to some readers.

An attorney for Paul Flores, who is accused of killing Kristin Smart in 1996, told investigators in 2010 that his client could lead investigators to the Cal Poly student’s body in exchange for a plea deal, according to an arrest warrant for Flores’ father.

Other details about the Smart investigation revealed in the arrest warrant for Ruben Flores, who is suspected of helping his son hide Smart’s body, include allegations of sexual assault, homemade rape videos and child pornography against Paul Flores.

The warrant, which was granted by San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Matthew Guerrero on April 6, 2021, states that the facts and circumstances of the case “show that Paul Flores is responsible for the death of Kristin Denise Smart” and that “Ruben Flores has assisted Paul Flores in keeping the remains of Kristin Smart hidden.”

The document rehashes the initial 1996 investigation, as well as investigators’ efforts in recent years. Both were included in the prosecution’s presentation of evidence during the Smart murder trial in Monterey County Superior Court.

The warrant also includes details not shown to jurors, and unknown to the public as well. It’s just one of hundreds of documents that were unsealed recently thanks to a legal effort by a news media coalition led by The Tribune.

Former Lawyer: Paul Flores Knows Where Kristin Smart’s Body Is

While going through boxes of case information in Novemember 2016, investigators found a box that had a manila envelope lying flat on the bottom, the warrant said. According to the warrant, the envelope contained handwritten meeting notes that appear to be from a plea bargain strategy discussion for Paul Flores in February 2003.

The envelope also reportedly included a two-page letter that was a follow-up to the plea discussion from James Murphy, who represented the Smart family in civil litigation against the Flores family.

According to the warrant, Murphy told investigators that he remembered Paul Flores’ then-attorney, Melvin de la Motte, offering an “extremely low criminal charge,” such as an infraction, to resolve the case.

“Based on the dialogue with De la Motte, Murphy had absolutely no doubt that Flores knows the circumstances of Smart’s death, and the location of her body,” the warrant said.

In October 2019, San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow sent San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson an email that contained electronic notes taken by former district attorney Gerald Shea on May 7, 2010, according to the warrant.

In the notes, the warrant said, De la Motte said his client would take law enforcement to Smart’s body in exchange for a plea deal —possibly an involuntary manslaughter plea.

“I just want to say one thing, and I shouldn’t even be saying this, but if you come to me with an offer of an involuntary with only one condition and that is that he’ll take law enforcement to the body, then I can make that deal happen,” De la Motte is quoted telling Shea in the 2010 notes, according to the warrant.

Given that legal professionals were involved, the discussion occurred more than a decade after the alleged crime, and the fact that no criminal charges had been filed against Paul Flores at that time, the evidence “leads clearly to the conclusion that Paul Flores is criminally involved in her death,” the warrant said, referring to Smart.

“If he were not, there would be no such need for a plea in the first place,” the warrant said.

Paul Flores Has A History of Assaulting Women, Arrest Warrant Alleges

According to the warrant, Flores allegedly made unwanted sexual advances and assaulted multiple women in the years that followed Smart’s disappearance.

In August 1996, a woman told investigators Flores allegedly showed up to her residence in the middle of the night, rang her doorbell and asked for a hug, the warrant said.

The woman allegedly told Flores to leave, and he then climbed up to her balcony and pounded on her sliding door. The San Luis Obispo Police Department responded and “removed Paul Flores from the property,” the warrant said.

Then in May 1999, Flores made unwanted sexual advances to two of his coworkers at the time while working at a Grover Beach restaurant, two more woman told investigators.

Flores allegedly put his hand in between one woman’s legs and tried to “pinch her breasts” on three separate occasions, the warrant said. On one occasion he rubbed onions on the woman’s face while he “pinned her to the ground for five minutes and sexually battered her,” the warrant said.

According to the warrant, the other woman who worked with Flores at the time told investigators he “grabbed her breasts and buttocks unsolicited.”

A female coworker of Flores at a Los Angeles Coca-Cola plant in 2013 told investigators Flores kept asking her to go out and get drinks with him, asking her “24 times over a four-day period, even though (the woman) told Flores she did not drink,” the warrant said.

When the woman told Flores she would not go out with him on the fourth day, the warrant said, he replied “Ok … we can go back to the hotel and you can pass out.”

The woman told investigators she did not know what Flores meant, but the comment surprised her, the warrant said.

Another woman told Redondo Beach police in January 2007 that she was raped, the warrant said. According to the warrant, the woman did not know who raped her — only that she left her drink at the bar during a cigarette break, started feeling more “buzzed” and then blacked out.

The woman told law enforcement that her next memory was “waking up inside an unknown residence the next morning, completely naked with only a blanket around her,” the warrant said. She went to the hospital for a rape kit and told investigators she has no memory of seeing or meeting her rapist, the warrant said, and her rape kit showed injuries to her rectum and vagina.

According to the warrant, investigators finally found a match in 2011 for DNA obtained from her rape kit: Paul Flores.

“The case was never prosecuted, but confirms Paul Flores raped the victim,” the warrant said.

Warrant: Defendant Saved Homemade Rape Videos in Computer Folder Titled ‘Practice’

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office deputies seized numerous electronic devices from Flores’ San Pedro home on Feb. 5, 2020. According to the warrant, files found on Flores’ computer were “shocking.”

“Flores had numerous homemade pornographic videos which depict who we know to be Paul Flores digitally penetrating, sodomizing and having sexual intercourse with unconscious females,” the warrant said.

The videos appeared to have been filmed inside Flores’ bedroom, with furniture, wall fixtures and the bed matching how his bedroom appeared when the computer was seized, the warrant said.

Some videos have audio of a voice that investigators recognized as belonging to Flores, and one video shows his face, the warrant said.

According to the warrant, the videos were saved in a file titled “practice” located on both Flores’ external hard drive and computer.

“There is little to no movement by the female subjects for that matter, which makes one question their state of consciousness and level of consent that can be given for sex acts performed,” the warrant said.

LAPD investigated Flores for sexual assaults based on the videos, the warrant said, and identified two woman who say Flores raped them, the warrant said. The rapes were similar to the alleged 2007 Redondo Beach rape, the warrant said.

The Sheriff’s Office found a third woman who said she was raped by Paul Flores in 2011, and she identified herself in one of the videos, the warrant said.

This woman’s rape was similar to the 2007 assault, according to the warrant. Investigators also found videos and images of child pornography on Flores’ computer, the warrant said.

Thousands of files reviewed by investigators depicted young teenage boys and girls naked and performing sex acts with adults, according to the warrant.

The warrant said the amount of pornographic content on Flores’ electronic devices was “enormous,” and included numerous rape fantasy videos and videos of sexual intercourse with intoxicated and unconscious females.

“He appears to be obsessed with sexual conduct involving intoxicated and under-the-influence females,” the warrant said.

Investigators believe “this type of predatorial behavior has a direct correlation to the Kristin Smart investigation,” the warrant said, noting that numerous witnesses say Smart was extremely intoxicated when she was last seen alone with Flores.

The alleged homemade videos, combined with the many woman who have come forward to investigators with sexual assault and rape allegations against Flores, “paint a clear picture into the predatorial mindset he holds,” the warrant says.

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Chloe Jones is a reporter for the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Contact her at