Suspect in 1996 murder of Kristin Smart to make first court appearance

first_imgSan Luis Obispo County Sheriff(NEW YORK) — Paul Flores, the man charged with murder this week in connection to the 1996 disappearance of his college classmate, Kristin Smart, is due to make his first court appearance on Thursday.Smart, a 19-year-old freshman at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo disappeared in the early hours of May 25, 1996, after a party near school.Flores — who was arrested for murder on Tuesday — walked Smart home from that party, and previously was named the “prime suspect,” authorities said.Flores is accused of causing the teen’s death during an attempted rape, San Luis Obispo District Attorney Dan Dow said Wednesday.Flores’ father, Ruben Flores, is accused of helping conceal Smart’s body after the murder, Dow said.Ruben Flores was charged Tuesday as an accessory to the murder after the fact and is also due in court Thursday.Despite this week’s arrests, Smart’s remains have not been found, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said.“We are not going to stop until Kristin has been recovered,” he said Tuesday.Smart’s family said in a statement Tuesday: “For over twenty-four years, we have waited for this bittersweet day. It is impossible to put into words what this day means for our family; we pray it is the first step to bringing our daughter home.”“The knowledge that a father and son, despite our desperate pleas for help, could have withheld this horrible secret for nearly 25 years, denying us the chance to lay our daughter to rest, is an unrelenting and unforgiving pain,” the family said. “We now put our faith in the justice system and move forward, comforted in the knowledge that Kristin has been held in the hearts of so many and that she has not been forgotten.”Dow said Wednesday that his office is seeking information from the public on other potential crimes committed by Paul Flores or his father.“Paul Flores was known to frequent bars in the San Pedro area from 2005 until the present day,” Dow said, asking anyone with information to call San Luis Obispo County Crime Stoppers at 805-549-7867.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Derek Chauvin trial closing arguments: Live updates

first_imgKuzma/iStock(MINNEAPOLIS) — The prosecution and defense in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd are set to take their final cracks on Monday at swaying jurors after calling more than 40 witnesses and presenting numerous videos of the 46-year-old Black man’s fatal 2020 arrest.Here’s how the news is developing Monday. All times Eastern:Apr 19, 11:51 amThe state does not have to prove Chauvin intended to kill Floyd, prosecutor saysChauvin’s actions were intentional because he knew that kneeling on Floyd’s neck was dangerous and an unlawful use of force, Schleicher said.“We don’t have to show that the Defendant intended to kill him,” he said. “The only thing about the defendant’s intent that we have to prove is that he applied force to George Floyd on purpose, that this wasn’t an accident.”Apr 19, 11:25 am‘Common sense’ that Floyd died because Chauvin pressed down on his lungs, state saysFloyd died because of a low level of oxygen, not because of a drug overdose or a preexisting heart condition, as the defense attempted to portray, Schleicher said.“‘Die of a drug overdose,’ that’s not common sense, that’s nonsense,” Schleicher said.The prosecutor continued, “Believe your eyes. What you saw happened, happened. It happened. The defendant pressed down on George Floyd so his lungs did not have the room to breathe.”Apr 19, 11:17 amPutting Floyd in the prone position was ‘completely unnecessary,’ prosecutor saysFloyd was already handcuffed on the ground, positioned on his side, when he was then put in the prone position, on his stomach, Schleicher said.While a subject is on his side, known as the “prone recovery position,” it provides room for the chest to expand so he can breathe, Schleicher said.Putting Floyd on his stomach after he was already in the recovery position was “completely unnecessary,” Schleicher said.“That is when the excessive force began,” he said.Apr 19, 11:06 am‘What the defendant did was an assault’: ProsecutorApr 19, 11:03 amGeorge Floyd is not the one on trial, state saysSchleicher reminded the jury that Floyd is not the defendant in the case, pointing to the testimony that characterized Floyd as having a drug addiction and the accusation that he used a fake $20 bill in the Cup Foods, which prompted the 911 call that brought Chauvin to the scene.“But he is not on trial,” Schleicher. “He didn’t get a trial when he was alive, and he is not on trial here.”Schleicher also dismissed claims the defense made that Floyd was noncompliant and resisting arrest, stating that Floyd followed commands to put his hands on the steering wheel upon his first encounter with Minnesota Police officers.“That is not resistance,” Schleicher said. “That is compliance.”Apr 19, 10:55 am‘This is not a prosecution of the police,’ prosecutor saysSchleicher made “very clear” that the state was prosecuting Derek Chauvin, not the Minneapolis Police Department, calling policing a “most noble profession.”“This case is called the State of Minnesota versus Derek Chauvin,” Schleicher said. “This case isn’t called the State of Minnesota versus the police.”Schleicher also said that Chauvin is not on trial for who he was, a police officer, but for “what he did,” pointing to the multiple witnesses on the scene who felt compelled to call the police on the police.”He accused Chauvin of abandoning his values and training.“He did not follow the department’s use of force rules,” Schleicher said. “He did not perform CPR. He knew better. He just didn’t do better.”Apr 19, 10:45 amFloyd’s last words were ‘Please. I can’t breathe.’: ProsecutorSchleicher emphasized to the jury that Floyd’s last words were to plead with Chauvin.“Floyd’s final words were, ‘Please. I can’t breathe,’” Schleicher said. “He said those words to the defendant. He asked for help with his very last breathe.”Rather than help, Chauvin “continued to push him down, to grind his knees, to twist his hand and twist his fingers into the handcuffs that bound him,” Schleicher said.Apr 19, 10:38 amProsecutor describes George Floyd’s relationship with his motherHennepin County Prosecutor Steve Schleicher began the state’s closing arguments by describing Floyd’s relationship with his mother, Larcenia Jones Floyd, the matriarch of the family.“And you heard about the special bond that she and George Floyd shared during his life.” Schleicher said. “You heard about their relationship, how he would always take time, special attention to be with his mother, how he would still cuddle with her in the fetal position.”Floyd could be heard in cellphone video calling out for his mother as Chauvin kneeled on top of him.Apr 19, 10:17 amJudge gives jury instructionsHennepin County Judge Peter Cahill read instructions to the jury before closing arguments began.Cahill also gave the jury definitions for reasonable doubt and reminded the jury to consider all the evidence they have heard or seen in court.Apr 19, 9:54 amClosing arguments to begin Monday morningThe attorneys will begin presenting their closing arguments in the high-profile case just after 10 a.m. local time, with prosecutors, who allege Chauvin killed Floyd on May 25, 2020, by holding his knee on the back of his neck for over 9 minutes, going first.Defense attorney Eric Nelson is expected to counter that Chauvin, a 19-year police veteran, was abiding by his police training when he and two other officers put a handcuff Floyd in a prone restraint and that a sudden heart attack and drugs in his system killed him more so than Chauvin’s knee.Once the closing arguments wrap up, the jury will be sequestered while they deliberate a verdict.The Chauvin jury is composed of eight people who are white and six who identify as people of color, including four who are Black. They range in age from their early 20s to 60.Among the panel are a tax auditor, an executive for a nonprofit health care company, a grandmother with an undergraduate degree in childhood psychology, a banker, an information technology manager who speaks multiple languages and a motorcycle-riding executive assistant.Chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and chose not to testify in his own defense.During the trial, which began on March 29 and enters its 15th day on Monday, prosecutors relied heavily on video taken of the deadly encounter by multiple bystanders, surveillance and police body camera to make their case that the use of force Chauvin applied on Floyd was unreasonable, unnecessary and not part of any training or policies of the Minneapolis Police Department.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more