A hearing on Apr. 20 will discuss trial venue changes

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The trial for Paul (45) and Ruben (80) Flores has been rescheduled for May 31. The new trial date was selected during a virtual San Luis Obispo County Superior Court pre-trial hearing on Monday, Apr. 4.

The father and son are charged in connection with the 1996 disappearance and murder of 19-year-old Cal Poly student Kristin Smart. 

The new trial date follows San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Craig van Rooyen’s ruling on Mar. 30, granting a venue change for the trial. Judge van Rooyen concluded that Paul and Ruben would not receive a fair and impartial trial in San Luis Obispo County.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

A hearing is set for Apr. 20 at 8:30 a.m. to determine new details of changing the venue.

Paul’s defense attorney Robert Sanger said Paul is only willing to wave time for 60 days from today’s date but not any further. San Luis Obispo County District Attorney (DA) prosecutor Christopher Peuvrelle stated he had not received confirmation from the California Judicial Council regarding venues available to take on the trial. He was concerned Apr. 20 would be too soon to select a new county.

Smart was last seen with Paul leaving an off-campus party on Crandall Way in San Luis Obispo on May 25, 1996. Although her remains have never been found, Smart was legally declared dead in 2002.

Paul and Ruben Flores were arrested at their homes in April 2021, nearly 25 years after Kristin’s disappearance.

Paul is charged with her murder. His father, Ruben, is charged as an accessory after the fact, accused of helping hide Kristin’s body. Paul has remained in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail without bail since his arrest. Ruben is currently out on bail.