A California man and his father charged in connection with the 1996 disappearance of 19-year-old college student Kristin Smart did not enter pleas during their first virtual court appearance Thursday morning.
Paul Flores, whom investigators declared a “prime suspect” last month, made his remote appearance in San Luis Obispo Superior Court wearing a suit and tie, while his 80-year-old father, Ruben Flores, appeared in an orange prison jumpsuit.
Defense attorneys for the Flores’ requested that the arraignments be continued until Monday, when they will enter a plea and hear arguments related to bail. A San Luis Obispo Superior Court judge approved the request and set a new date for April 19 at 1:30 p.m. PT.
The judge also approved the defense attorneys’ request for a protective order for Paul and Ruben Flores due to the high-profile nature of the case.
Paul Flores remained held without bail, while bail for his father Ruben remained set at $250,000.
Paul Flores was represented by defense attorneys Robert Sanger and Sarah Sanger, while attorney Harold Mesick represented Ruben Flores.
Smart’s family released a statement following the arraignment.
“After nearly 25 years of waiting, today’s delay in the arraignment process was not unexpected or surprising,” the family’s statement said. “Make no mistake, we have begun the final quest to bring justice for Kristin. We know we are in good hands with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office, and we will wait patiently for the process to commence.”
The younger Flores, 44, was arrested Tuesday morning in San Pedro on a single count of first-degree murder. Prosecutors have alleged that Flores caused Smart’s death while either raping or attempting to rape her in his dorm room.
Ruben Flores was also arrested at his home in Arroyo Grande, and charged with being an accessory after murder.
Smart was a 19-year-old student at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo when she went missing in 1996. Paul Flores, who at the time was also a student there, is believed to have been the last person seen with her before she went missing on the way to her dorm following a party.
Smart’s body has never been found.
Investigators had combed the father’s property with ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs last month. Investigators have not revealed what was found.
Flores has denied wrongdoing for nearly 25 years and invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to answer grand jury questions related to the case.
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.
- [LLODO] California parents rally in defense of teacher recorded berating students over push for in-person learning
- [LLODO] California shooting at Fresno mall prompts manhunt for suspects
- [LLODO] California shooting at Fresno mall prompts manhunt for 2 suspects
- [LLODO] California standoff ends after 5 hours with arrest of slain woman’s estranged husband: reports
- [LLODO] California Highway Patrol dog helps uncover 81 pounds of meth, 11 pounds of fentanyl tablets
- [LLODO] California ethnic studies pitch denounces US as a ‘parasitic system’ based on the ‘invasion’ of White settlers
- [LLODO] California gold rush town votes to remove controversial nickname and logo
- [LLODO] California promotes ‘dismantling racism in mathematics’ guidance in draft for statewide framework
- [LLODO] Missing California hiker found safe after public helps rescuers trace location of photo he sent friend