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Monterey County Superior Court spokesperson Norma Ramirez-Zapata told Oxygen.com on Tuesday that “a juror on the Ruben Flores trial jury was unable to attend court today.”
“The decision was made to postpone the trial until Monday (the trial was already scheduled to be on hold Wednesday through Friday) rather than to seat an alternate juror,” Ramierez-Zapata stated over email. “This was explained to the jury in open court this morning with the public and media present.”
The trial against Paul Flores, 45, and his father Ruben Flores, 81, had re-started last week after the trial was delayed for a few days following an “unexpected health concern,” Ramirez-Zapata previously told Oxygen.com.
Paul Flores is accused of killing Kristin Smart, a 19-year-old California Polytechnic State University freshman, during an attempted rape in his dorm room on May 25, 1996, after he walked Smart home from an off-campus party. Ruben Flores is accused of helping his son dispose of Smart’s remains, which have never been found. Prosecutors believe Ruben Flores helped his son bury Smart in the backyard of the family's Arroyo Grande home before later digging up her remains to move them to another location.
On Friday, Smart’s college classmate Vanessa Shields testified in court about Paul’s interactions with Smart, Fox 11 reports.
She told the jury that, during a party weeks before Smart vanished, she caught Paul "staring intently" at Smart for minutes.
"He was creepy. Socially awkward," she testified.
On Monday, another classmate named Cheryl Anderson (which is her maiden name) took to the stand, according to tweets from the Your Own Backyard podcast, who has been attending the court proceedings. She had walked Kristin Smart back to campus — though not her dorm room — after the last party on the night Smart disappeared.
She testified that Smart was "very intoxicated, her speech was slurred, and she was having trouble standing up.” She noted that Paul "appeared sort of suddenly” as she and a third friend were attempting to walk Smart home.
"He came sort of out of nowhere,” she testified, adding that Smart was unsteady and Paul was seemingly trying to help. However, she stated that "he had his arms around her, and was rubbing her arms up and down” and that he kept hugging her even though the intoxicated teen did not hug him back.
Anderson testified that she parted ways with Smart and Flores once they were all back on campus, as she lived in a different dorm — but not without confirming that Flores would accompany her friend the whole way home.
Flores' trial is expected to last through October.
Smart was declared legally dead in 2002. Both Flores men were arrested in April 2021.
Paul Flores has always been the key suspect in the disappearance of Smart, as he was the last person seen with her alive the night she disappeared.
Prosecutors have previously alleged in court documents that “dozens of women have recounted Paul Flores’ sexual assaults and predatory behavior that document his 25 years as a serial rapist.” Last year, Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office released reports that showed investigators eyed him in 2012 when his DNA profile allegedly matched a sample collected from a Southern California woman who was sexually assaulted in 2007.
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