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Monterey County chosen as new venue for Paul Flores murder trial

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - A new venue has been chosen for the high-profile Paul Flores murder trial. San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Craig van Rooyen announced Wednesday that Monterey County will be the location for the trial.

Van Rooyen mentioned that after receiving assistance from the Judicial Council of California, two counties were identified as potential locations which could receive the trial.

He then announced Monterey County had been selected without identifying the other possible site.

Flores will be on trial for the murder of Kristin Smart. Both were Cal Poly students in May 1996 when Smart disappeared. For 25-years Flores was considered the only person of interest in the disappearance. He was arrested and booking into San Luis Obispo County jail on April 13, 2021.

Flores' father, Ruben Flores, was also arrested and is charged for being an accessory in the crime.

Also on Wednesday, Paul Flores lead defense attorney Robert Sanger filed a motion asking the court to help it receive discovery evidence from the prosecution.

In the motion, three dozen soil samples are listed, which Sanger indicated are currently being re-tested at an outside laboratory.

Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle said those samples would be sent to the defense as soon as possible.

Paul Flores' defense team filed a change of venue motion on March 9 to move the trial outside of San Luis Obispo County, alleging that it would not be possible for Flores to receive a fair and impartial trial in the county due to the extensive media coverage and community commitment to the case, among other things.

With a new location now selected, the court will meet again at 1:30 p.m. on Monday to decide more on scheduling the new start date for the trial.

The last trial to be moved out of San Luis Obispo County also was shifted to Monterey County.

In 2001, Rex Krebs stood trial for the murders of Rachel Newhouse and Aundria Crawford in 1998 and 1999. Krebs was convicted of both murders and was sentenced with the death penalty.

Article Topic Follows: Crime & Courts
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Joe Buttitta

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