Judge confirms April 25 trial date for Paul, Ruben Flores

Dec. 7—The father and son defendants charged with the death and disappearance of Kristin Smart appeared Monday during a pretrial conference in San Luis Obispo to confirm their trial start date for April and work out details regarding discovery.

Paul Flores, 45, and his father, Ruben Flores, 80, appeared via Zoom before Judge Jacquelyn Duffy, along with their attorneys Bob Sanger and Harold Mesick, respectively, to confirm the April 25 start date for the trial and agree to future hearing dates due to scheduling conflicts between attorneys.

Additionally, Duffy agreed to not require both defendants to be present in Superior Court when their attorneys meet for an informal, in-chambers conference Wednesday with Judge Craig Van Rooyen, who is presiding over the trial.

Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle indicated there was a hearing for a tentative defense motion to dismiss charges in January, although he asked to have the hearing pushed to February because he and the two defense attorneys said they would be in other trials.

Paul Flores, of San Pedro, is charged with the first-degree murder of Smart. Ruben Flores, of Arroyo Grande, is charged with accessory to her murder after the fact and is accused of burying her body underneath the deck of his residence in the 700 block of White Court. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Smart was a 19-year-old freshman at Cal Poly when she went missing on May 25, 1996.

She was last seen with Paul Flores near the intersection of Perimeter Road and Grande Avenue, steps away from their dorms, at about 2 a.m., after walking back from an off-campus party, according to witness Cheryl Manzer, who split off from the pair.

Smart was never seen again and was declared legally dead in 2002. Her body has not been found.

Paul and Ruben Flores were arrested at their respective residences on April 13 and charged the next day following a series of search warrants at the White Court residence in March and April, including on March 15 and 16, when Sheriff's Office investigators utilized cadaver dogs, ground-penetrating radar and an archeologist.

Van Rooyen on Sept. 22 determined there was sufficient probable cause to uphold the charges after a lengthy preliminary hearing that began on Aug. 2.

The case now proceeds to the April trial date, with a readiness conference scheduled for April 6.

Paul Flores is currently in custody at San Luis Obispo County Jail with no bail amount listed. Ruben Flores is out on $50,000 bail.

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