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Kristin Smart case: defense files motion to disqualify SLO DA’s Office from prosecuting case

Pool photo by David Middlecamp | The Tribune
Defense attorney Robert Sanger, representing Paul Flores, appears in San Luis Obispo Superior Court Aug. 3, 2021.

Aug. 11 was the seventh day of Paul and Ruben Flores’ preliminary hearing in the Kristin Smart case.

The morning began with Robert Sanger filing a motion to disqualify the San Luis Obispo District Attorney's Office from prosecuting the case.

Sanger said the prosecution is “biased,” citing that Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle and lead detective Clint Cole were wearing purple ties every day.

Purple was Smart’s favorite color. Some of Smart’s family have been wearing purple to the hearing.

Peuvrelle pointed out he was wearing a navy blue tie and suit today and yesterday, Aug. 10, he said he wore a red and navy blue plaid tie. Cole was also wearing a blue tie today.

Sanger filed a motion with the Attorney General. The hearing for this motion is tentatively set for Aug. 25.

The morning continued with Adela Morris, a human remains detection dog handler, also known as a cadaver dog handler, continuing her testimony from Aug. 10. Sanger started on a cross examination where he asked about her certifications and how she trained her dog Cholla, who alerted at Paul Flores’ dorm room in Cal Poly's Santa Lucia Hall on June 29,1996.

When Judge Craig van Rooyen asked about Cholla's reliability, Morris said she “was absolutely one of the most trained dogs in California.”

Morris said she took another one of her dogs, Cirque, into the Santa Lucia Hall and said Cirque alerted in the same locations as Cholla.

Morris testified that Cholla and Cirque did not alert or have any interest in any other place in Santa Lucia Hall besides Flores’ dorm room.

That dog “gave me probably the strongest alert I’ve ever seen her do,” Morris said about Cholla’s first alert at Flores’ dorm room door.

During the cross examination, Harold Mesick — representing Ruben Flores — asked Morris if she knew the current state of the missing person, Kristin Smart.

“I still don’t know the state of the missing person,” Morris said.

Morris was excused, subject to recall. Other dog handlers are expected to testify during the preliminary hearing.

Tim Davis, who helped Smart walk part of the way back to the dorms with Cheryl Manzer — formerly Anderson — took the stand, but his testimony was cut short due to the evening recess.

Davis confirmed he attended the Crandall Way party and was a junior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo at the time.

Davis is expected to continue his testimony tomorrow at 9 a.m.

Lauren Walike joined KCBX as its news manager in February 2021. In addition to her KCBX work, Lauren also serves as news director for KCPR-FM, Cal Poly’s student-run radio station, and digital director of Mustang Media Group, Cal Poly’s student-run news organization. She will graduate from Cal Poly’s Honors Program in June 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in journalism with minors in Integrated Marketing Communications and Media Arts, Society and Technology.
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