A preliminary hearing for the two suspects charged in the murder of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart has been delayed.
The hearing for Paul and Ruben Flores was originally scheduled to begin last week but now is tentatively slated to begin July 12 upon a judge's approval. Court officials expect the hearing will last 12 days.
Paul Flores, 44, is charged with the murder of Smart, who was last seen with the Cal Poly freshman before she went missing on May 25, 1996. Smart was declared legally dead in 2002 and her body has never been found.
Paul Flores' father Ruben, 80, is charged with accessory to murder after the fact in the death of Smart. He is accused of hiding Smart’s body after she was murdered, according to District Attorney Dan Dow.
Harold Mesick, who represents Ruben Flores, could not comment on the reason for the delay granted June 30 due to a gag order in the case.
Judge Jacquelyn Duffy presided over the June 30 hearing in the absence of Judge Craig Van Rooyen, who was on vacation.
During the July 6 hearing, Van Rooyen is expected to review a potential July 12 start for the preliminary hearing or set an alternate date at Superior Court in San Luis Obispo.
Paul Flores was arrested in San Pedro on April 13 and charged with the murder of Smart on April 14. Ruben Flores was arrested in Arroyo Grande and charged on the same days. Both men pleaded not guilty.
The arrests came after search warrants using ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs were served at Ruben Flores’ home in the 700 block of White Court in Arroyo Grande on March 15 and April 13. Details on what was found during the searches remain sealed.