NewsKristin Smart Case


Paul, Ruben Flores appear in court via Zoom for first time since Oct. arraignment

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Posted at 1:27 PM, Dec 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-07 01:51:17-05

Paul and Ruben Flores appeared before a San Luis Obispo Superior Court judge via Zoom on Monday.

The two men are set to stand trial next spring in connection with the 1996 disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart.

Paul is charged with her murder. His father, Ruben, is charged as an accessory after the fact, accused of helping hide Kristin's body.

After a month and a half-long preliminary hearing that ended on September 22, Judge Craig van Rooyen ruled there is sufficient evidence to move the case forward to trial.

In explaining his decision, the judge said he has a strong suspicion that Kristin Smart was murdered and buried under Ruben's deck.

Monday's hearing was a pre-trial conference to determine that all parties are on track for the previously agreed upon trial date.

Robert Sanger, attorney for Paul Flores, said his client was having difficulty obtaining some of the discovery in the case. Discovery is the process in which the two sides collect and exchange information about evidence and witnesses.

The defense and prosecution agreed to discuss the matter in an informal conference with Judge van Rooyen in his chambers on Wednesday.

Judge van Rooyen is currently overseeing another trial but will be the presiding judge in the Flores trial.

Judge Jacquelyn Duffy handled Monday's court hearing. She confirmed the trial date of April 25, 2022, with a readiness hearing on April 6.

Paul and Ruben Flores were arrested in April 2021, nearly 25 years after Kristin Smart's disappearance. She was last seen walking back to the dorms with Paul Flores after an off-campus party on the early morning of May 25, 1996.

Kristin's body was never found but she was declared legally dead on May 25, 2002.

Paul Flores has remained in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail without bail since his arrest. Ruben is currently out on bail.