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Judge rejects defense’s motion to dismiss People vs. Paul Flores murder trial

SALINAS, Calif. – Pre-trial motions for the high-profile and long-awaited People vs. Flores murder trial began at the Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas on Monday, where Paul Flores is being accused of killing former Cal Poly student Kristin Smart after her disappearance in 1996.

The case was moved from San Luis Obispo County to Monterey County in April after Flores' defense team argued that Flores could not have a fair and impartial trial in the case's county of origin.

Flores is accused of killing Smart and has been considered the only person of interest for 25 years because he is believed to be the last person who saw her alive in May 1996. He was arrested in April 2021.

Ruben Flores, his father, was also arrested and is being charged as an accessory to the murder.

The pre-trial motion hearings are scheduled from Monday through Friday in Salinas.

On Monday, Flores' defense attorney Robert Sanger focused on the introduction of a motion to dismiss the case based on "outrageous government conduct."

A News Channel 3-12 crew at who sat in on the pre-trial motions said that Sanger called San Luis Obispo County Assistant District Attorney Eric Dobroth to the stand, and questioned him about how much he knew about the "disinformation" that was "purposely disseminated by San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's detective Clint Cole."

Sanger argued that the disinformation was released to an unnamed podcaster in order to invoke a discussion amongst the Flores family.

Smart's disappearance was featured on Chris Lambert's "Your Own Backyard" podcast in a 10-part series that ran periodically between September 2019 and July 2021.

The motion was denied by Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe on Monday afternoon.

After the pre-trial hearings conclude on Friday, the court will move into three weeks of jury selection followed by opening statements anticipated to begin on July 6.

Article Topic Follows: San Luis Obispo County
court trial
san luis obispo 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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