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TODAY: Motion hearing to dismiss ruling to move forward to trial in Kristen Smart case

Day 11 Flores preliminary hearing morning 4.jpg
Posted at 4:20 AM, Jan 21, 2022

A motion hearing will take place this morning at 8 am in the Kristin Smart murder case in an effort to throw out the judge's ruling in a preliminary hearing to move forward with a trial.

The attorney for Paul Flores is asking the court to throw out a judge's ruling that there is probable cause for him to stand trial in connection with the 1996 disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart.

Flores is charged with Smart's murder. His father, Ruben, is charged as an accessory after the fact, accused of helping hide the body, which has never been found.

After a month and a half-long preliminary hearing that ended on Sept. 22, 2021, San Luis Obispo Superior Court 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 Smart was murdered and buried under the deck of Ruben's Arroyo Grande home.

However, the motion, filed in San Luis Obispo Superior Court in December, argues there was insufficient evidence to support a finding of probable cause and the judge's ruling was illegal. It claims the prosecution relied on speculation and innuendo and lacked a coherent theory and that the witnesses were significantly influenced by publicity surrounding Chris Lambert's podcast, "Your Own Backyard," and a "social media-driven campaign to convict Paul Flores."

The motion also attacks the admissibility of dog handler testimony during the preliminary hearing. Multiple dog handlers testified that their dogs alerted to Paul's dorm room during a search on the Cal Poly campus following Kristin Smart's disappearance.

It also claims that Paul Flores was not read his Miranda Rights when he was interviewed by investigators at the Arroyo Grande Police Department in June of 1996.

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.

The trial for the two men is currently scheduled to start on April 25, 2022.

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

You can watch the hearing broadcast HERE, beginning at 8am.