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Kristin Smart suspect pleads not guilty to her murder

The man suspected of killing California college student Kristin Smart in 1996 entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment on Monday afternoon, a report said.

An attorney for suspect Paul Flores, who allegedly killed Smart during an attempted rape at California Polytechnic State University, entered the plea during the court hearing, a local NBC affiliate reported.

Flores was ordered held without bail, according to the report.

Paul’s father, 80-year-old Reuben Flores, was charged with accessory to murder for allegedly helping his son hide Smart’s body, which has never been found.

The elder Flores also pleaded not guilty Monday, but it’s unclear if he was let of jail on bail, according to the report.

Prosecutors in the county previously said they believe Flores killed Smart during a rape attempt on May 25, 1996.

Paul Flores, then also a 19-year-old freshman, had walked Smart home from an off-campus party that night, authorities said.

Paul Flores (top left) and Reuben Flores (bottom center) at their virtual arraignment on April 15, 2021 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court in San Luis Obispo, California.
Paul Flores (top left) and Reuben Flores (bottom center) both entered not guilty pleas at their virtual arraignment on April 15, 2021 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court in San Luis Obispo, California.
AP Photo/Nic Coury

Investigators believe Flores may have killed Smart inside her dorm room, while “attempting to or committing a rape,” San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow said.

Flores was the last person to be seen with the college freshman had walked Smart home from an off-campus party that night, authorities said.

He faces 25 years to life if convicted.

Additional reporting by Tamar Lapin


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