070621 flores hearing

San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Craig Van Rooyen, top middle, on Tuesday approved a tentative July 20 start date for the preliminary hearing in the Kristin Smart case. 

A judge on Tuesday approved a tentative preliminary hearing start date for the two suspects charged in the Kristin Smart murder case.

Judge Craig Van Rooyen set a date of July 20 for Ruben and Paul Flores, the father and son who are suspected in the death of Smart, the 19-year-old Cal Poly student who went missing on May 25, 1996. 

The preliminary hearing was scheduled to start on Tuesday, although it was continued for at least a week by Judge Jacquelyn Duffy in a last-minute hearing held on June 30. The preliminary hearing is expected to last 12 days, according to court officials.

Van Rooyen attributed the preliminary hearing delay to discovery-related matters, including a defense request to receive affidavits and other search warrant materials from prosecutors.

Citing Bob Sanger, Paul Flores’ attorney, the judge said the defense intends to file motions to quash certain discovery materials but first needs the materials “in hand” before filing the motions, which require a five-day advance notice. Prosecutors are working with court officials to release the materials to the defense, Van Rooyen added. 

The first day of the preliminary hearing is expected to be held in person, with motions beginning at 8:30 a.m. July 20 at San Luis Obispo County Superior Court. Evidence presentations will follow until 4:30 p.m. 

Additionally, Van Rooyen set two court dates leading up to the hearing in July.

A hearing over Zoom will be held at 8:30 a.m. July 12 in which defense witnesses will be ordered back to be on call for a preliminary hearing, according to Van Rooyen.

Sign up to receive headlines in your inbox!

Breaking News | Local Sports | Daily Headlines | Local Obituaries | Weather | Local Offers

An in-person hearing then will be held at 1:30 p.m. July 14 in which Van Rooyen will hear a motion and a supporting brief to amend the criminal complaint filed by Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle, who is prosecuting the case.

In addition to the motion to amend, the court will hear arguments on a motion from attorney Jeff Redding to quash a subpoena against his client, Susan Flores, Paul Flores’ mother.

Paul Flores, 44, of San Pedro is charged with the murder of Smart and was last seen with the Cal Poly freshmen before she went missing. She was declared legally dead in 2002 and her body has never been found.

Ruben Flores, 80, of Arroyo Grande 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.

They were both arrested on April 13 and charged on April 14 after two search warrants that included ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs were served at Ruben Flores’ residence in the 700 block of White Court in Arroyo Grande in March and on the day of his arrest.

Both suspects have pleaded not guilty.