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Juror in Ruben Flores jury pool dismissed, deliberations to start anew

SALINAS, Calif. – Deliberations among Ruben Flores' jury in the high-profile Kristin Smart trial will have to restart after one juror in his jury pool was dismissed on Thursday for discussing the case outside of the courtroom.

Paul Flores is accused of killing Smart, who was a 19-year-old Cal Poly student at the time of her disappearance in May 1996, and Ruben Flores, Paul's father, is being charged as an accessory to the crime.

Paul and Ruben's cases were being tried simultaneously, but each defendant had their own jury.

Closing arguments in the trial began on Oct. 3 after 12 weeks of arguments from the defense and prosecution.

One of the jurors in Ruben's trial was dismissed by Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O'Keefe on Thursday for talking about the case to his priest, according to a News Channel 3-12 crew at the scene.

"I need to protect the record. It pains me to have to do this, but it's something I have to do to make sure everything is protected. We do have to let you go," O'Keefe said.

An alternate juror was randomly selected on Thursday out of a pool of five alternates.

The alternate juror was sworn in on Thursday afternoon and deliberations resumed, but with the new juror in place, the deliberations for Ruben's trial must start anew.

Article Topic Follows: Monterey County
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Jade Martinez-Pogue

Jade Martinez-Pogue is the Assignment Editor and web journalist at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Jade, click here

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