Paul and Ruben Flores pled not guilty to their charges in the 1996 disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart case at their court appearance today, April 19. This comes nearly a week after the father and son were arrested.
Paul, 44, is being charged with first degree murder, allegedly causing Smart’s death in the act of or attempt of rape, and 80-year-old Ruben is charged with accessory after the fact.
They were arrested April 13 at their separate homes and made their first court appearance on Thursday but did not enter pleas.
Judge Craig Van Rooyen denied a bail request for Paul, but will possibly reduce Ruben’s $250,000 bail to a more affordable amount.
Paul was denied bail because Article 1 Section 12b of the California Constitution refuses bail for those charged with acts of violence or sexual assault offenses on another person. Paul also has a felony for a DUI, is facing felony charges in Los Angeles for possession of a firearm and has failed to appear in court before.
Harold Mesick, Ruben’s lawyer, requested a lower bail amount on account that Ruben has no criminal history, requires constant medical attention for his diabetes, colitis and recent triple bypass surgery, and called him an “upstanding member of his community.” Mesick also pointed out Ruben is not a flight risk because he has “nowhere to go” and does not have a passport.
Judge Van Rooyen, although noting that he has to assume Ruben’s accessory charge is true when considering bail, does not see real benefit in keeping Ruben in jail. The maximum sentence in a single 32 PC charge is three years and Judge Van Rooyen noted Ruben could potentially serve that before the real trial even starts. He did suggest court-issued electronic monitoring so Ruben would not be able to leave the county.
No bail amount was determined and the court will reconvene Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. to further discuss the case.
Both Ruben and Paul are being held in San Luis Obispo County Jail.