Man Accused of Killing Famed Footwear Collector Pleads Not Guilty

RIVERSIDE – A Menifee man who allegedly killed his 58-year-old ex- girlfriend — a world-renowned footwear collector who was found dead in her backyard swimming pool — pleaded not guilty today to murder.

Justin Charles Smith, 29, was arrested last month in connection with the death of Darlene Flynn, whose vast collection of shoes and shoe-related products landed her in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2006.

Smith is charged with murder and a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a deadly weapon — a baseball bat — during the commission of a felony.

He appeared before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Helios Hernandez, who scheduled a felony settlement conference in the case for Sept. 3 and left Smith’s bail set at $1 million.

The defendant is being held at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.

Sheriff’s deputies were called to the victim’s residence in the 28800 block of Stone Lane around 2 p.m. July 22 after receiving calls about a domestic disturbance involving a man and woman screaming at one another.

Deputies knocked on the front door of the house repeatedly but received no response, said sheriff’s Sgt. Todd Torrenti.

”While attempting to make entry, deputies noticed a shirtless male running from the rear of the residence,” Torrenti said. ”A perimeter was established, and the male was located (hours later) near the intersection of Briggs Road and Highway 74.”

Smith was arrested without incident.

Back at the house, deputies pulled Flynn out of the pool and conducted a preliminary examination to determine a possible cause of death. Torrenti said the fatally injured woman ”had injuries consistent with blunt force trauma.”

Flynn, dubbed ”The Shoe Lady” and the ”Queen of Sole,” had amassed more than 16,000 shoes and shoe-related products. The collection, including heels, sneakers, boots, stockings — even pillows shaped as shoes — has an estimated value in excess of $500,000, according to published reports.

Smith has a prior misdemeanor conviction for grand theft from September 2012, which District Attorney’s Office spokesman John Hall said was the result of the defendant selling Flynn’s car without her permission.

Smith was sentenced to three years probation in that case.


Man Accused of Killing Famed Footwear Collector to be Arraigned

RIVERSIDE – A Menifee man who allegedly killed his 58-year-old ex- girlfriend — a world-renowned footwear collector found dead in her backyard swimming pool — is scheduled to be arraigned today.

Justin Charles Smith, 29, was arrested last month in connection with the death of Darlene Flynn, whose vast collection of shoes and shoe-related products landed her in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2006.

Smith is charged with murder and a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a deadly weapon — a baseball bat — during the commission of a felony.

Riverside County sheriff’s deputies were called to the victim’s residence in the 28800 block of Stone Lane around 2 p.m. on July 22 after receiving calls about a domestic disturbance involving a man and woman screaming at one another.

Deputies knocked on the front door of the house repeatedly but received no response, said sheriff’s Sgt. Todd Torrenti.

”While attempting to make entry, deputies noticed a shirtless male running from the rear of the residence,” Torrenti said. ”A perimeter was established, and the male was located (hours later) near the intersection of Briggs Road and Highway 74.”

Smith was arrested without incident.

Back at the house, deputies pulled Flynn out of the pool and conducted a preliminary examination to determine a possible cause of death. Torrenti said the fatally injured woman ”had injuries consistent with blunt force trauma.”

Flynn, dubbed ”The Shoe Lady” and the ”Queen of Sole,” had amassed more than 16,000 shoes and shoe-related products. The collection, including heels, sneakers, boots, stockings — even pillows shaped as shoes — has an estimated value in excess of $500,000, according to published reports.

Smith has a prior misdemeanor conviction for grand theft from September 2012, which District Attorney’s Office spokesman John Hall said was the result of the defendant selling Flynn’s car without her permission.

Smith was sentenced to three years probation in that case.

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