RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — The boyfriend of a 58-year-old renowned shoe collector who was found dead earlier this week in a backyard swimming pool in Menifee has been charged with her murder.
Justin Charles Smith, 29, didn’t enter a plea in court Thursday in connection to the death of Darlene Flynn. He mouthed “I’m sorry” repeatedly to his family as he faced the judge, according to KCAL9’s Adrianna Weingold. His arraignment was pushed back until Aug. 8. He’s in custody on $1 million bail.
Around 2 p.m. Monday, sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic disturbance call at a residence in the 28800 block of Stone Lane.
Deputies discovered Flynn deceased in the home’s pool. A preliminary examination found that the victim “had injuries consistent with blunt force trauma,” according to Sgt. Todd Torrenti.
Torrenti said authorities saw a shirtless male running from the back of the residence when they initially attempted to enter the home. Hours later, Smith was located and arrested near the intersection of Briggs Rd. and Highway 74.
Court records showed Smith had a previous misdemeanor conviction for grand theft from 2012. Investigators said he stole Flynn’s car and sold it for profit. In that case, he was sentenced to three years’ probation. Part of the probation stated that he wasn’t allowed to have negative contact with Flynn.
Flynn, known as “The Shoe Lady” and the “Queen of Sole,” had collected more than 16,000 shoes and related products. She appeared on the TLC program, “My Collection Obsession,” and recently set a Guinness World Record for her number of shoes.