The selection of Christine Smart’s jury was delayed due to health problems

The selection of the jury in the trial for the murder of Christine Smart has been suspended due to unspecified health problems related to the accused murderer Paul Flores and his father Ruben Flores, who is accused of helping to expel the student’s body from Cal Poly 26 years ago.

More than 1,500 Monterey County residents received subpoenas for the selection process, which began on June 13. The jurors will be reduced to 40 jurors, including alternates, for two trials.

But the election trial against Paul Flores has already been postponed to Monday, and it is unclear when Ruben Flores’ jury will be selected, according to Monterey County Court officials, where the trial has been moved. The trial against Paul Flores was due to begin early next month.

The exact nature of the health concerns and who the accused was involved were not revealed. Paul Flores is 45; his father is 80. After the pandemic, it is not uncommon for defendants to become infected with the coronavirus, which has delayed proceedings.

Smart’s disappearance and subsequent homicide investigation have haunted the Central Coast College community for decades, with billboards calling for evidence to convict her killer. Her body was never found, but she was legally pronounced dead in 2002.

Detectives of the Sheriff of San Luis Obispo County arrested Paul Flores at his home in San Pedro in April 2021, almost 25 years after Smart’s disappearance.

His father, Ruben, was also detained last year at his home in Arroyo Grande, California. He is accused of complicity in the crime after prosecutors say he moved Smart’s body.

The 19-year-old boy was last seen walking with Paul Flores near the dormitories after attending a party in the early hours of May 25, 1996. At the time, they were both students at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

In September, after hearing 22 days of testimony, a San Luis Obispo County judge ruled that there was enough evidence to prosecute both Paul and Ruben Flores, and the proceedings were ordered to be moved 126 miles north to Monterey County. to ensure a fair trial. .

Flores and his father will be tried by separate jurors, and those who break into each of them will not hear the same evidence. Testimony in the case of the younger Flores is unlikely to begin until next month; The process is expected to continue until October.

During the preliminary hearing, a prosecutor requested testimony from witness Jennifer Hudson that Paul Flores had confessed to the crime in 1996.

“I finished playing with her and let her under my ramp,” Hudson testified, as Flores told her. But she has not said any of these words for years and informed the chief investigator of the case in 2019.

Smart fainted at a party for two hours in front of many and two friends were holding her to take her home when Flores “came out of the darkness” and repeatedly told one of these friends that she would take her home safely, deputy dist. . adv. Chris Povrell said.

Peuvrelle has extracted evidence that he believes Ruben Flores hid Smart’s body, eventually moving it after years of storing some of the remains under the deck of his home in Arroyo Grande.

During the trial, the defense is likely to appoint chief detectives and a local podcast for real crimes targeted at Paul Flores. In a recent court request to dismiss the case, Flores’ lawyer, Robert Sanger, said the “misinformation” had been “deliberately disseminated” by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff. Clint Cole to an unnamed podcast.

The “Your Own Backyard” real crime podcast has been credited by the authorities to rekindle interest in the Smart case and help identify potential new witnesses and investigative opportunities.

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