San Luis Obispo County Jail | Courtesy

Paul and Ruben Flores’ defense’s motion to dismiss their case, preventing it from going to trial, was denied at a Jan. 21 hearing.

Paul and Ruben Flores are being tried for the murder and accessory to the murder, respectively, of former Cal Poly student Kristin Smart. Smart disappeared on May 25, 1996 after walking back to her residential hall on campus from an off-campus party. Paul Flores was the last person to have been seen with Smart, whose body has not been recovered yet was declared legally dead in 2002. 

Paul and Ruben Flores will appear in front of van Rooyen on Feb. 2 for a pre-trial meeting. 

In Friday’s hearing, Judge Jacquelyn Duffy reviewed van Rooyen’s decision to send the case to trial by reviewing the evidence that supported his decision.

Duffy went through pages of evidence, reading through the timeline of the night Kristin Smart disappeared, the searching of the dorm room after her disappearance, the searching of the Flores house with cadaver dogs and the staining found in the soil underneath the deck of the house.

Duffy also addressed the topics Robert Sanger, Paul Flores’ attorney, brought up with regard to the items of purple clothing worn by the prosecution and the credibility of the dog handlers defined as credible witnesses. 

Sanger said that the prosecution “minimized” the meaning of them wearing purple ties during the preliminary hearing, which had previously been used as evidence to remove the San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s office from the case. The motion to remove the prosecution from the case was denied during the preliminary hearing in August.

Duffy said that she had read through the report filed by Sanger citing these topics and would only address the motion to set aside the ruling. Duffy said that she believes van Rooyen had sufficient probable cause for the case to go to trial.

Paul Flores will stand trial on April 25 with a jury present. Before then, pre-trial conferences are scheduled on Feb. 2 and April 6.

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