NewsKristin Smart Case


Health concerns postpone jury selection in Paul, Ruben Flores murder trial

Paul, Ruben Flores court 6-6.JPG
Posted at 7:58 AM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 00:08:47-04

Jury selection for the trials of Paul and Ruben Flores has been postponed.

Monterey County Superior Court officials said trial proceedings were being pushed out a week “due to a health concern among one of the trial participants.”

The father and son are charge are charged in connection with the 1996 murder and disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart.

While their trials are happening at the same time, each defendant will have his own jury.

Jury selection for Paul’s case was expected to begin Monday but is now set to start June 27. A specific date has not been given for jury selection in Ruben’s case due to the latest postponement.

Opening statements had been scheduled to begin July 6 but court officials have not said whether this latest postponement will change that date.

Approximately 1,500 people in Monterey County were summoned for the Flores’s cases.

Of those, court officials said Friday when the juror questioning phase wrapped up that the juror pool had been narrowed down to 390 with 270 jurors returning for jury selection for Paul and 120 for Ruben.

Twelve jurors and eight alternates will be chosen for each defendant.

Paul, a longtime person-of-interest in Smart’s 1996 disappearance from the Cal Poly campus, was arrested last April and charged with murder. He’s been behind bars without bail since his arrest and is being held in Monterey County Jail during the trial.

His father, Ruben, is charged as an accessory, accused of helping hide Smart’s body.

He posted bail shortly after his arrest and is currently out of custody.

Court proceedings began in Monterey County last month after San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Craig van Rooyen granted a change of venue motion in March allowing the trial to be moved out of San Luis Obispo County.

Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe is now presiding over the trial, which will not be televised.

O’Keefe has denied requests for audio and video recordings of the trial and is only allowing still photography.

She's indicated the trial is expected to last into October.