LOS ANGELES — A former California college student charged with murder in the 1996 disappearance of classmate Kristin Smart has pleaded not guilty and his father denied helping to hide the young woman's body.
Paul Flores, 44, was arraigned Monday on a first-degree murder charge in the killing that authorities said happened as he tried to rape Smart in his dorm room at California Polytechnic State University campus in San Luis Obispo after an off-campus party. Smart's body has never been found.
Ruben Flores, 80, pleaded not guilty to a charge that he was an accessory after murder.
Lawyers for the father and son criticized a lack of evidence in the case, with one saying it was “so minimal as to shock the conscience.”
A prosecutor countered Monday that defense lawyers had omitted key facts or had not read the warrants leading to the arrests of Paul Flores on a murder charge and his father, Ruben Flores, on accessory after murder.
The father and son were arrested more than 24 years after Smart disappeared back in 1996.
Smart was 19 when she was reportedly last seen leaving a party at Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo with Paul Flores. Her roommate reported her missing the following day. In 2002, Smart was officially declared dead and the case was turned over to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office.
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