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Sentencing in Kristin Smart murder trial delayed

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Posted at 10:22 AM, Dec 02, 2022

Paul Flores will not be sentenced next week for the murder of Kristin Smart, a Monterey County judge ruled Friday.

Judge Jennifer O’Keefe approved a motion filed by Flores’ attorney, Robert Sanger, requesting the 46-year-old’s sentencing be continued to a later date.

Court documents state Flores' counsel is "in the process of preparing a comprehensive motion for new trial and other post-verdict, pre-conviction motions." It goes on to say that his attorneys won't have enough time before his Dec. 9 sentencing date "to file and serve the motions in time for the prosecution to respond or for the Court to consider them."

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Defense attorney Robert Sanger appears for a motion hearing via Zoom in the case involving Paul Flores on Dec. 2, 2022

After hearing from attorneys on both sides, Judge O’Keefe set a new sentencing date for March 10, 2023.

Sanger told the court he has been made aware of new information that he will use to ask for a new trial but declined to comment on exactly what that information is.

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Prosecutor Chris Peuvrelle attends a motion hearing via Zoom in the case against Paul Flores on Dec. 2, 2022

In response, San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle said the victim’s family has a legal right to see this trial to its conclusion in a timely manner.

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Stan Smart, Kristin Smart's father, also attended the Dec. 2, 2022 motion hearing virtually.

Ultimately, Judge O’Keefe ruled the sentencing would be rescheduled for next year and set a date in February for a status update.

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Monterey Co. Superior Court Judge Jennifer O'Keefe during a Dec. 2 motion hearing

O’Keefe agreed the Smart family does have a right to see this case through, and she warned attorneys that she intends to proceed with the sentencing in March with no further delays.

Friday was Paul Flores’ first court appearance since a jury convicted him in October of first-degree murder. He appeared for Friday’s hearing via Zoom from the San Luis Obispo County Jail.

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Paul Flores appeared via Zoom from the SLO Co. Jail for a motion hearing Dec. 2, 2022

He is facing 25-years-to-life without the possibility of parole for the 1996 murder of Kristin Smart, who disappeared when she was a freshman at Cal Poly. Her body has never been found.

Prosecutors alleged Paul’s father, Ruben Flores, helped his son cover up the crime, but a separate jury found Ruben not guilty of accessory after the fact during the pair's dual jury trial, which began with opening statements in mid-July.

While Ruben, who was not in attendance for Friday's hearing, spoke out just moments after being acquitted, a protective order was revised, prohibiting those still involved in Paul Flores’ case from discussing any details not presented at trial with the public until after Paul is sentenced.

KSBY News anchor Richard Gearhart was inside the courtroom Friday and will have more on what took place on KSBY News Friday at 4, 5 and 6 p.m.

For more on the weeks-long trial and the Kristin Smart case, click here.