Kristin Smart murder trial moved to Monterey County

April 20, 2022


A San Luis Obispo County judge announced Wednesday that the trial of accused murderer Paul Flores will be moved to Monterey County. The judge said in March that the defendants could not get a fair trial in SLO County before ruling in favor of a change of venue motion.

Paul Flores is charged with murdering Kristin Smart during an attempted rape in 1996 following a Cal Poly frat party. His father Ruben Flores is suspected of helping his son dispose of Smart’s body, which prosecutors believe was buried under a deck at his Arroyo Grande home.

SLO Superior Court Judge Craig van Rooyen said he has reached out to the presiding judge in Monterey County to find what courtroom and dates are available to hold the trial.It is also not yet known what Monterey County Superior Court judge will preside over the trial.

Judge van Rooyen plans to provide further information during a hearing on Monday afternoon.

On April 4, Paul Flores’ attorney Robert Sanger agreed to waive time for 60 days, meaning the trial needs to start by June 11 to protect the defendant’s right to a speedy trial.

Paul and Ruben Flores’ trial is scheduled to start on May 31, though the change of venue could lead to a delay.

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The Monterey County Superior Court presiding judge will decide which courtroom(s) they can make available for the trial. Judge van Rooyan and his court staff will go to Monterey County and hold the trial there. This is how the Krebs’ trial was conducted when Judge LaBarbera did the trial in Monterey.

The Krebs’ case had loads of evidence, including the recovered bodies of his murder victims. The Flores’ prosecution lacks such evidence, unfortunately. I’ve got an uneasy feeling about this change of venue. I’m not optimistic that Kristin Smart will get the justice she deserves in a Salinas courtroom.

Ha; out in the sticks was his only chance and it just went bye bye.

I do not know the particulars to be delivered in this trial but I do sense that Monterey County is a good choice for closure.