The San Luis Obispo County Court on Wednesday, April 21 lowered bail by $200,000 with bail bond conditions for Ruben Flores, who is accused of accessory after the fact for the 1996 murder of Kristin Smart.
Judge Craig Van Rooyen set Flores’ bail to $50,000 upon defense attorney Harold Mesick’s request to change the initial $250,000 bail to a more affordable amount.
“If the court does impose financial bail it is going to deprive [Flores] of the ability to hire two experts we have determined we need: a biologist and a soil expert,” Mesick said.
Van Rooyen’s decision to set bail to $50,000 came after reviewing Flores’ financial documents.
If he is able to make bail, Flores is required to obey all laws, submit to electronic monitoring such as an ankle monitor imposed by the County Probation Department, stay within the county and surrender his passport within 24 hours of being released from custody.
At a court hearing on Monday, April 19, Van Rooyen said 80-year-old Flores is not a flight risk nor a risk to public safety. Mesick said Flores’ lack of criminal history and his medical conditions — including diabetes, colitis, recent triple bypass heart surgery and 17 prescribed medications — makes it unnecessary for him to stay in custody.
Flores’ maximum sentence would be three years, which could be fully served in custody before he even goes to trial, Van Rooyen said at the April 19 court hearing.
Flores pleaded not guilty along with his son, Paul Flores, who is accused of murdering Kristin Smart when they were both Cal Poly freshmen almost 25 years ago.
Van Rooyen left Paul with no bail, saying he is a flight risk, and it’s likely his release before trial would result in “great bodily injury” to another person.