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Trial date finally set for man accused of 1996 murder of Central Coast college student

Smart Family photo
Paul Flores is set to go on trial in July for the murder of Cal Poly classmate Kristen Smart.

Paul Flores accused of attacking, killing Cal Poly San Luis Obispo classmate Kristen Smart

A date has been set for the start of a murder trial for the man accused of killing a Central Coast college student more than a quarter of a century ago.

Pretrial hearings have been set for next week, with opening arguments in the trial of Paul Flores set for July 6.

Flores was a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student in May of 1996. Prosecutors say he walked Kristen Smart back to the dorms from an off-campus party. But, the say he attacked, and killed her in his room. Her remains have not been recovered. His father, Ruben Flores, is accused of being an accessory to the killing, helping to deal with Smart’s body.

A judge moved the trial from San Luis Obispo to Monterey County because of pretrial publicity. There was concern that the high-profile murder case would make it hard to find an impartial jury. Flores and his father pled not guilty to the charges.

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.