A San Luis Obispo County Superior Court judge ruled Thursday that convicted killer Scott Peterson will not be allowed to testify in Kristin Smart's murder trial at the moment.

According to KSBY, Judge Craig van Rooyen said there was no evidence of any connection between Kristin Smart and Scott Peterson.

Judge Denies Scott Peterson's Court Appearance at Kristin Smart's Murder Trial

Judge Craig van Rooyen noted that there was no evidence that Scott Peterson was at the same party that Kristin Smart and Paul Flores attended just before she disappeared.

Because of this, the judge decided to exclude Peterson's testimony as well as his brother Mark and father, Lee. However, KEYT reported that Van Rooyen did leave open a slight chance that Scott Peterson might be allowed to testify if the defense team can present new information that shows he is relevant to the case.

Paul Flores is charged with the murder of Kristin Smart, and he's being held without bail. His father, Ruben, is charged as an accessory to the crime and is currently out on bail. They were both arrested and charged in April, nearly 25 years after Smart's disappearance. The two men pleaded not guilty.

Paul Flores' defense attorney Robert Sanger has presented to the court a list of witness candidates he hopes to call to the stand to testify. One of them was Peterson.

Scott Peterson and Kristin Smart knew each other while they both attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) more than 20 years ago. At the time that Smart disappeared on the night of May 24, 1996, the convicted killer was a Cal Poly student.

Sanger earlier cited Peterson's statement about not wanting investigators to search a lake he was associated with. The lawyer argued that the statement was taken seriously by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office, which resulted in searching two ponds on the property that Scott Peterson was known to have access to.

At one point, investigators looked at Peterson as a potential suspect in Smart's disappearance. However, they could not find a connection.

Thursday's hearing began with the cross-examination of San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office Forensic Specialist Shelby Liddell.

Liddell testified that she collected soil samples and took photos last March and April at Flores' home, where investigators believe the remains of the 19-year-old student were buried.

According to Liddell, there were 11 areas where the ground-penetrating radar was used in the backyard. Liddell noted that four of those spots that showed anomalies were excavated.

Liddell said in one of those excavation sites under the deck, staining in the soil was discovered at about two to two-and-a-half feet and continued down.

Liddell, who was the only witness to testify on Thursday, noted that a body could have been buried above the location to leave that kind of staining.

Liddell earlier said a soil sample taken from the March dig tested positive for human blood; that's why they returned in April to collect more samples.

According to court documents, Smart's remains were likely removed during a nighttime operation sometime in early February 2020. 

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Detective Dismisses Scott Peterson's Connection to Kristin Smart Case

Last month, Detective Clint Cole of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff told the court that multiple individuals were investigated as potential suspects, but Paul Flores was deemed the sole suspect "due to the consideration of a multitude of evidence."

Cole noted that other people were also investigated as potential suspects in the case, including Scott Peterson, who was convicted in 2004 for the murders of his pregnant wife Laci Peterson and their unborn child.

According to Cole, multiple people at the party that Smart attended before she disappeared told a prior detective on the case that Peterson was not at the party. They were also not able to identify pictures of him.

Cole said the FBI was also asked to compare the Smart and Peterson cases within their database, and when they did, they found there were no contacts between Peterson and the Smart case.

Cole noted that Scott Peterson was essentially cleared from being a suspect in the case after no evidence connected him to Kristin Smart's disappearance. Smart's body has yet to be found, but she was declared legally dead in 2002.

READ MORE: Scott Peterson May Be Called in Kristin Smart Murder Trial as Defense Team Wants Convicted Killer to Testify

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Written by: Jess Smith

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