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Juror absence postpones witness testimony Monday in the Kristin Smart murder trial

Kristin Smart murder trial
Paul Flores (middle left) and Ruben Flores (middle right) listen to Judge Jennifer O'Keefe inside the Monterey County Courthouse on Sept. 26, 2022. (Evan Vega/KEYT)

SALINAS, Calif. -- The Kristin Smart murder trial was postponed Monday due to an unexpected juror absence.

Court was scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. and start what is expected to be the final week of witness testimony.

Once the doors opened, the two juries were sat, as were others in the audience, including members of the Smart family, as well as media members.

There are two juries in the trial, one for defendant Paul Flores, who is accused of killing Smart in 1996, and the other for his father Ruben Flores, who is charged with being an accessory to the crime.

After a few minutes, the juries, as well as the audience members were asked to leave the courtroom.

About 30 minutes later, everyone was brought in and told by Judge Jennifer O'Keefe that court was canceled for the day.

O'Keefe said a member of the Paul Flores jury was unable to attend Monday's proceeding due to an undisclosed emergency.

The judge said the court is expected to resume on Tuesday.

The judge added that if the juror is unable to attend, the court has two options, either release the juror from the trial and replace them with an alternate, or postpone the trial for another day.

O'Keefe apologized to the two juries, recognizing their commitment to the now 11-week-long trial, which started on July 18, 2022.

The judge said her time would be used Monday to help finalize jury instructions that will be given once both sides in the trial rest their case.

It's anticipated witness testimony could happen very soon, likely sometime later this week.

Paul Flores attorney Robert Sanger is still presenting his defense.

Sanger has called a handful of witnesses since the prosecution rested its case last Tuesday.

It's unknown how many witnesses Sanger will question, either new ones, or previous witnesses that are subject to recall.

It's possible closing arguments could happen sometime later this week.

Court is scheduled to resume Tuesday morning at the Monterey County Courthouse beginning at 10:30 a.m.

All other proceedings for the rest of the week are scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m.

Article Topic Follows: Crime & Courts
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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.

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