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New location for Kristin Smart murder trial to be selected later this month

Paul Flores hearing
A virtual hearing for Paul Flores in the Kristin Smart murder case is held on Zoom Monday morning. (San Luis Obispo County Superior Court/Zoom)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- The new location for the Kristin Smart murder trial will be selected later this month on April 20, according to new developments in the high-profile case.

In addition, a new trial date was set for May 31, although that could be delayed as details surrounding the change of venue are worked out.

During a brief hearing Monday morning, a handful of dates were set by San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Craig van Rooyen, who has handled the case ever since charges were brought against Paul Flores nearly one year ago.

Flores is accused of killing Smart in May 1996, while his father Ruben Flores has been charged as an accessory to the crime.

Last week, van Rooyen approved a change of venue request made by the Paul Flores defense team.

Attorneys for Flores argued he could not receive a fair and impartial trial in San Luis Obispo County due to the "overwhelming" amount of media coverage it has generated for more than 25 years.

With the change of venue motion granted, the case will now be moved out of San Luis Obispo County to an unknown location.

No potential sites have been discussed.

On April 20, a new location will be determined during what is known as a "McGown hearing."

During the proceeding, van Rooyen will determine an appropriate venue, selected from at least three options presented by the the Judicial Council of California.

Van Rooyen said Monday, he will notify the Judicial Council today about the updated timeline so it can begin the process of finding alternate counties that would be able to handle the case.

Article Topic Follows: Crime & Courts

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Dave Alley

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