A judge has denied Flores Motion to Dismiss Case, which is a relief for the defense.
The trial is still set to begin on April 25.
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Judge Jacquelyne Duffy reviewed Judge Craig van Rooyen’s determination that there is enough probable cause for Paul (44) and Ruben (80) Flores to stand trial for the murder of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart this morning, Friday, Jan. 21.
Judge Duffy refused the Defense’s move to set aside facts during Friday’s motion hearing, ruling that Judge van Royen had sufficient probable cause to keep the prisoners for trial.
Kristin Smart, a 19-year-old Cal Poly student, was abducted and murdered in 1996, and her father and son have been charged with her murder. On May 25, 1996, Smart and Paul were last spotted leaving an off-campus party on Crandall Way in San Luis Obispo. Smart was officially pronounced deceased in 2002, despite the fact that her remains have never been discovered.
We’re going to get through this together, Atascadero
In April 2021, over 25 years after Kristin’s abduction, Paul and Ruben Flores were arrested at their residences.
Paul has been accused with her assassination. Ruben, his father, has been charged as an accessory after the fact, suspected of assisting in the concealment of Kristin’s corpse. Since his arrest, Paul has been held without bond at the San Luis Obispo County Jail. Ruben has been released on bond.
San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Craig van Rooyen concluded on Sept. 22, 2021, that there is sufficient evidence to carry the case ahead to trial after a month and a half of preliminary hearings. The defense counsel for Paul Flores filed a petition asking the court to overturn the prior judgment.
Their motion, filed in December in San Luis Obispo Superior Court, claims that there was insufficient evidence to establish a finding of reasonable cause, and that the judge’s decision was unconstitutional. It alleges the prosecution relied on conjecture and innuendo and lacked a cohesive theory, and that publicity surrounding Chris Lambert’s podcast, “Your Own Backyard,” and a “social media-driven campaign to condemn Paul Flores” swayed the witnesses.
During the preliminary hearing, the motion also challenges the admission of dog handler testimony. During a search on the Cal Poly campus after Kristin Smart’s abduction, many dog handlers testified that their dogs alerted to Paul’s dorm room.
It further says that when Paul Flores was interrogated by detectives at the Arroyo Grande Police Department in June 1996, he was not informed his Miranda Rights.
Robert Sanger, Paul Flores’ defense attorney, opened the motion hearing by saying that he had a very little time to submit his application. He then went on to defend Detective Clinton Cole’s purple attire during the preliminary hearing. Judge Duffy said that she had read all 22 volumes of preliminary testimony and was aware of the purple garment issue. Sanger then likened wearing purple to wearing gang colors.
Judge Duffy subsequently noted a number of inconsistencies in Paul Flores’ claims, as well as other evidence, as probable cause.
On Wednesday, Feb. 2, at 8:30 a.m., a trial setup conference will be held as a live hearing, followed by a readiness conference on Wednesday, April 6. The trial is still set to begin with a jury trial on April 25.
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