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Trial of man accused of killing Central Coast college student in 1996 finally underway

Smart Family
Paul Flores is now on trial for the May 1996 murder of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo classmate Kristin Smart.

Paul Flores is charged with the 1996 murder of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student Kristin Smart.

The trial is finally underway for the man accused of killing a Central Coast college student more than 25 years ago. Paul Flores is accused of the May 1996, killing of Kristin Smart. The two were classmates at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Detectives say Flores walked Smart back to campus after a party, and then killed her in his dorm room.

In opening statements Monday, prosecutors said they will prove Flores killed Smart. They said she used to call her family every Sunday, but it’s been more than 1300 Sundays since she called them last.

A defense attorney contended Flores walked her back to her dorm and left, saying there are no eyewitnesses to support claims that he killed Smart.

Also going on trial was Flores’ father, who is accused of being an accessory after the fact. Prosecutors say Ruben Flores helped dispose of Smart’s body. Her remains were never recovered.

The trial is taking place in Salinas, where it was moved because of concerns that pretrial publicity would make it impossible to pick an impartial jury in San Luis Obispo County.

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.