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Father, Son Have First Court Appearances On Central Coast To Face Charges In Kristen Smart Murder Case

(San Luis Obispo County Superior Court image)
Paul Flores (upper left hand corner) make his first appearance in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court to face charges in the Kristen Smart murder case

Arraignment continued until Monday

The man arrested this week for the killing of a Central Coast college student nearly a quarter of a century ago made his first court appearance Thursday for his arraignment.

Paul Flores was in court in San Luis Obispo County to face a murder and sexual assault charge for the 1996 death of Cal Poly student Kristen Smart.

Also making a court appearance in a separate virtual hearing due to the pandemic was Ruben Flores, Paul’s father. Ruben is accused of helping his son deal with Smart’s body. Neither man entered a plea to the charges against them, with their arraignment continued to next week.

Flores was a fellow Cal Poly student who walked Smart back towards her dorm from an off-campus party. But, prosecutors say Smart ended up in his dorm room, where he attacked her.

Despite a number of search efforts, her body was never recovered, but prosecutors say they now know where to look.

Smart’s family issued a statement saying they weren’t surprised that there’s a delay in the case, but are happy the final quest for justice is underway.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.