Kristin Smart murder trial postponed once again

Posted at 9:43 AM, July 27, 2022 and last updated 12:49 PM, December 13, 2022

By Jacob Dizon

SALINAS, Calif. (KSBY) – More witnesses were expected to take the stand Tuesday morning in the case against Paul and Ruben Flores, but that didn’t happen.

Shortly after Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe took her seat in the courtroom, she announced the trial would be postponed until next Monday.

Paul Flores stands during his murder trial in Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas, Calif., Monday, July 18, 2022. Flores is accused of the murder of Kristin Smart and opening statements began Monday. Smart is still missing, but the man last seen with her at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo in 1996 is on trial more than a year after he was arrested on a murder charge along with his father, who is accused of helping hide her body. (Daniel Dreifuss/Monterey County Weekly via AP, Pool)

READ MORE: CA v. Flores & Flores: The Kristin Smart Murder Trial

Judge O’Keefe informed the court that a member of one of the juries could not attend trial due to an “unexpected emergency” and said they did not want to run through the case’s list of alternates.

The judge also said that so far, the trial has been “ahead of schedule” and that the delay would not put them far behind.

An attorney who has covered cases for more than 50 years in Monterey County and who is not affiliated with this case says delays like this are not uncommon and adds that he wouldn’t be surprised if it happens many more times throughout the duration of the lengthy trial.

Paul and Ruben Flores are being tried in connection with the disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart.

Witnesses say the 19-year-old freshman was last seen with Paul, who was also a student at Cal Poly at the time and was a longtime person-of-interest in the case prior to his and his father’s April 2021 arrest.

Paul, 45, is charged with murder. Ruben, 81, is charged as an accessory, accused of helping cover up the crime.

Even though Kristin’s body has never been found, she was declared legally dead in 2002.

FILE – This undated photo released by the FBI shows Kristin Smart, the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo student who disappeared in 1996.  (FBI via AP, File)

The trial, which is expected to last into at least October, was moved out of San Luis Obispo County and is taking place in Salinas.

Testimony in the case began last Thursday. So far, Kristin’s parents, sister and brother along with friends of Kristin and those who attended the off-campus party she was at shortly before her disappearance have all been called to the stand.

Paul and Ruben are being tried together but each have their own juries who will hand down separate verdicts.

Twelve jurors and eight alternates have been selected for each defendant.

This story was originally published July 26 by KSBY in Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo, an E.W. Scripps Company.

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