SAN PEDRO (CNS) - San Luis Obispo County prosecutors are seeking to amend their case against the San Pedro resident charged with murdering a college classmate in 1996, it was reported.
Prosecutors will argue a motion Wednesday to amend the murder charge against Paul Ruben Flores, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
They have said he killed Kristin Smart during the commission of a rape or attempted rape in his dormitory the night she vanished in 1996.
Authorities did not spell out the specifics of the new charges in court. But last week, a judge referenced case law in which rape cases were attached to crimes in a different county, according to The Times.
Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Jonathan Tippett, who oversees the Robbery-Homicide Division, said San Luis Obispo County prosecutors were looking at two sexual assaults that occurred in the San Pedro area where Flores lived between 2013 and 2017, The Times reported.
Tippett said the addition of the Los Angeles County rape charges will bolster the prosecution's murder case against Flores and demonstrate a pattern of criminal behavior, according to The Times.
A judge said Monday that a number of motions will be reviewed this week ahead of a 12-day preliminary hearing scheduled for July 20.
Flores is charged with murder in the commission of a rape or attempted rape. His 80-year-old father, Ruben Flores, is charged with accessory after the fact and is accused of concealing Smart's body after her death.
The preliminary hearing is expected to reveal what prosecutors think happened to Smart. After the arrest of the two Floreses, evidence was retrieved from below the deck of the father's home in Arroyo Grande, prosecutors have indicated.
Smart vanished on Memorial Day weekend in 1996. She was last seen walking with Flores, a classmate, back to her room after a party. Flores was long suspected in Smart's disappearance, but without sufficient evidence tying him to any crime, he remained free.
San Luis Obispo prosecutors in April said they were investigating whether Flores had sexually assaulted women in the San Pedro area, where he has lived for 15 years.
Redondo Beach police previously presented a rape case against Flores to Los Angeles County prosecutors, who ultimately declined to file charges for lack of evidence.
The victim in that case did not know Flores' identity when she fled his home after the alleged attack. But police uploaded a DNA profile taken as evidence into a law enforcement database, and a few years later it matched it to Flores.
The alleged rape in Redondo Beach was one of multiple cases in which Flores was suspected of sexually assaulting women. He is a suspect in two recent alleged sexual assaults being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department, authorities say, according to The Times Flores, 44, has not been charged with any sex crimes stemming from his time in Southern California. He has pleaded not guilty to Smart's murder.
Flores' attorney has said he “denies every allegation.”
In a probation report inadvertently made public and obtained by the San Luis Obispo Tribune, a deputy district attorney wrote that dozens of women have described “sexual assaults and predatory behavior that document (Flores') twenty-five years as a serial rapist.”
If Flores' case goes to trial and San Luis Obispo County prosecutors are allowed to present testimony that Flores has preyed on women in the years since Smart disappeared, it could significantly broaden the scope of the trial.