Trial date for suspect in Kristin Smart murder set

Kristin Smart

By KAREN VELIE

Paul Flores’ trial on charges he murdered Kristin Smart in 1996 in San Luis Obispo is scheduled to start on May 31, even though a location for the trial is not yet known

On Monday, Paul Flores’ attorney Robert Sanger agreed to waive time for 60 days, meaning the trial needs to start by June 11 to protect the defendant’s right to a speedy trial. SLO County Judge Craig van Rooyen granted Paul Flores a change of venue last week, because he did not believe the defendant could get a fair trial in SLO County.

The Judicial Council of California will now select which county, likely Monterey or Kern, will hold the jury trial. At an April 20 hearing, Judge van Rooyen is slated to select the receiving county. It has not yet been determined if van Rooyen or another judge will preside over the jury trial.

Smart was nearing the end of her freshman year at Cal Poly when she vanished on May 25, 1996, after attending an off-campus party. Paul Flores, a fellow student, was the last person seen in the company of Smart, and for years was a person of interest in the case.

Deputies then arrested Paul Flores and his father Ruben Flores in April 2021 for their involvement in the alleged murder of Smart. Charged with being an accessory after the fact, Ruben Flores is suspected of helping his son dispose of Smart’s body.

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