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Paul Flores, father to stand trial for Kristin Smart killing

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A California judge on Wednesday ruled that the suspects arrested for the 1996 murder of Kristin Smart will stand trial, the Los Angeles Times reports.

San Luis Obispo County Judge Craig B. Van Rooyen determined there is probable cause to try Paul Flores and his father, Ruben Flores, in the slaying.

The younger Flores was the last known person seen with Smart, then a first-year student at California Polytechnic State University, before her disappearance 25 years ago.

In April, Paul Flores was charged with the murder of Kristin Smart, while Ruben Flores was charged with being an accessory after the fact.

Van Rooyen’s decision comes after 22 days of testimony from prosecutors, who presented a case against the two based on circumstantial evidence. Among the witnesses called to testify was Jennifer Hudson, who claimed that Paul Flores admitted to her in 1996 that he killed Smart, according to the Times.

“We continue to support the family of Kristin Smart as we work toward justice,” San Luis Obispo County Dist. Atty Dan Dow told the Times after the ruling.

Paul Flores remains in custody, as he was not granted bail during his April arrest. The elder Flores was released on $250,000 bail. Both have pleaded not guilty, according to the Santa Maria Times.

The next court date for the two is set for Oct. 20.

“Yesterday was a very good day and we want to take this opportunity to thank all of Kristin’s supporters in San Luis Obispo and beyond,” the Smart family said in a statement released through a spokesman following the ruling.

They added, “Our family has always known that this was going to be a long, difficult, and emotional journey. We are now one step closer to justice for Kristin.  She – and all who have worked so hard toward this day – deserve nothing less.”

Tags kristin smart LOS ANGELES TIMES Paul Flores paul flores ruben flores
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