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Judge reduces Ruben Flores' bail in Kristin Smart case

Lauren Walike
Ruben Flores, bottom right, was arrested April 13 in connection with the Kristin Smart case and is currently being held in San Luis Obispo County Jail.

Hearings continued April 21 to determine a bail amount for Ruben Flores, who San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow charged with accessory to murder in the suspected killing of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart in 1996.

Ruben Flores is the father of Paul Flores, who is being charged with first degree murder in the Smart case.

Judge Craig Van Rooyen reduced Ruben Flores’ bail from $250,000 to $50,000. The judge said that he would revisit the bail amount if Flores’ ability to afford the amount changes.

The bail comes with conditions, including that Ruben Flores obey all laws, stay in San Luis Obispo County, turn over his expired passport to the court within 24 hours of his release from custody and submit to electronic ankle monitoring by the San Luis Obispo County Probation Department.

The Smart family previously filed a statement with the court asking that Ruben Flores be held without bail saying, in part: “Ruben, in particular, has repeatedly demonstrated troubling behavior all of these years and we fear his release on bail directly threatens the safety of our family.”

The San Luis Obispo Tribune recently obtained a county probation report in which a Sheriff’s Office detective said that investigators have “biological evidence” that makes them believe Kristin Smart’s body was at one point buried beneath the deck at Ruben Flores’ Arroyo Grande home.

Both Paul and Ruben Flores pleaded not guilty at a previous arraignment. Further hearing dates are scheduled for May 21, June 17 and July 6.

Lauren Walike joined KCBX as its news manager in February 2021. In addition to her KCBX work, Lauren also serves as news director for KCPR-FM, Cal Poly’s student-run radio station, and digital director of Mustang Media Group, Cal Poly’s student-run news organization. She will graduate from Cal Poly’s Honors Program in June 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in journalism with minors in Integrated Marketing Communications and Media Arts, Society and Technology.
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