New hearing date set for polo player accused of murder
By DIANE HENSLEY
Updated May, 20th, '05

INDIO  – The preliminary hearing for former international polo player Steve Flores of Indio has been rescheduled for June 14 at the Larsen Justice Center, court documents show.
A probation hearing is also scheduled on the same day in connection with previous convictions on charges of possession of controlled substances.

Flores is accused of murder in the shooting death of a man at the Kennedy’s Market on Monroe St.  If convicted, he could serve 60 years to life in prison, police said.

Authorities arrested Flores the evening of Nov. 18 after witnesses reported seeing a man identified as Flores shoot another man early that morning. Flores allegedly loaded a bleeding body into a truck, then drove off, according to Sgt. Frank Taylor of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Central Homicide Unit.

The victim’s identity has not yet been released by the Riverside County Coroner’s Office, but has been described as a 25-year-old Thermal man. Flores remains in custody at Riverside County Jail. Bail is set at $1 million.

 Diane Hensley may be contacted at dkheditor@msn.com.


Hearing slated for polo player accused of murder By DIANE HENSLEY. Updated May 9th, '05.

INDIO  – The preliminary hearing for former international polo player Steve Flores of Indio has been rescheduled for May 18 at the Larsen Justice Center, court documents show.

Flores is accused of murder in the shooting death of a man at the Kennedy’s Market on Monroe St.  If convicted, he could serve 60 years to life in prison, police said. A probation hearing is also scheduled on the same day in connection with previous convictions on charges of possession of controlled substances.

Flores, 49, a skilled horseman and respected competitor, had achieved a rating of six goals according to the United States Polo Association and his talents were sought out internationally. His achievements led to a successful and privileged existence as a polo professional ranked in the top 15 percent of players worldwide.

In recent years, Flores had dropped out of competition and encountered marriage and financial problems, former acquaintances have said. Members of the polo community have expressed both shock and sadness at the turn of events in Flores’ life, while others, whom he’s allegedly crossed in business or pleasure, bristle at the mention of his name.   

Authorities arrested Flores the evening of Nov. 18 after witnesses reported seeing a man identified as Flores shoot another man early that morning. Flores allegedly loaded a bleeding body into a truck, then drove off, according to Sgt. Frank Taylor of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Central Homicide Unit.

The victim’s identity has not yet been released by the Riverside County Coroner’s Office, but has been described as a 25-year-old Thermal man. Flores remains in custody at Riverside County Jail. Bail is set at $1 million. Diane Hensley may be contacted at dkheditor@msn.com.


UPDATED 02/02/05 9 a.m.
Hearing set for polo player accused of murder
By DIANE HENSLEY

Polo player faces murder charges

INDIO  – Lawyers for a former international polo player accused of murder in the shooting death of a man at the Kennedy’s Market agreed to postpone a preliminary hearing until Feb. 16. Proceedings were continued on Jan. 26 at the Larsen Justice Center.
 
Steven Thomas Flores, 49, a skilled horseman and respected competitor, once traveled around the world playing polo. He achieved a rating of six goals by the United States Polo Association, according to Eldorado Polo Club officials, and his talents were sought out by patrons in the East and West. In recent years, Flores had dropped out of competition, allegedly turned to drugs, and encountered marriage and financial problems, said former acquaintances who declined to be identified.

Flores is accused of one count of murder and a weapons enhancement. If convicted, he could serve 60 years to life in prison, police said.
  
Authorities arrested Flores the evening of Nov. 18 as he walked near a church on the Torres Martinez Indian Reservation. He had been the target of a day-long manhunt that began when witnesses reported seeing a man identified as Flores shoot another man. Flores allegedly loaded a bleeding body into a truck, then drove off, according to Sgt. Frank Taylor of the Riverside county Sheriff’s Department Central Homicide Unit.
  
The victim’s identity has not yet been released by the Riverside County Coroner’s Office, but has been described as a 25-year-old Thermal man. Detectives believe the victim is the same person Flores allegedly shot and killed.
  
Flores remains in custody at Riverside County Jail and is being represented by a court-appointed attorney. He also faces charges of possession of controlled substances, court records show. Bail was set at $1 million.

 Diane Hensley may be contacted at dkheditor@msn.com

.By DIANE HENSLEY

  INDIO  – A preliminary hearing scheduled Dec. 6 for a former polo phenom accused of murder in the shooting death of a man behind the Kennedy’s Market has been continued until Jan. 26.
Steven Thomas Flores, 49, is accused of one count of murder and a weapons enhancement. If convicted, Flores could serve 60 years to life in prison, police said.
  
Authorities arrested Flores the evening of Nov. 18 as he walked near a church on the Torres Martinez Indian Reservation. His arrest followed a day-long manhunt that began when witnesses reported seeing a man identified as Flores shoot another man at 56302 Monroe St. early that morning. Witnesses said they watched as the man they claimed was Flores struggled to load a bleeding body into the bed of a white pickup truck, then drive off, according to Sgt. Frank Taylor of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Central Homicide Unit.
  
Following his arrest, Flores reportedly provided information that led police to a body of man in the open desert in Thousand Palms. The Riverside County Coroner’s Office has not yet released the identity of the victim, a 25-year-old Thermal man. Taylor said the body appeared to have suffered several gunshot wounds. Detectives believe the victim is the same person Flores allegedly shot and killed.
  
Members of the desert polo community reflected on the promising polo career that Flores once knew and how it had spiraled from privilege to near panhandling. He had long been estranged from the sport that had once supported his livelihood, sold his Thermal ranch and lived in a trailer near the scene of the shooting, his former acquaintances said at the Eldorado Polo Club.
  
Flores also faces charges of possession of controlled substances, court records show. He remains in custody on the murder charge at Riverside County Jail. Bail has been set at $1 million. He is being represented by a court-appointed attorney
.

UPDATED 11/23/04 1:28 p.m. - Steven Flores pleaded not guilty on Monday. A hearing is set for Dec. 6 at the state-run Larsen Justice Center.

LA QUINTA – At the top of his polo game, Steven Flores was a talented horseman with a promising career and a future rife with prospects. He raised and trained polo ponies on his sprawling ranch in Thermal, achieved a five-goal rating and competed successfully on the Pacific Coast Circuit. Inside of a decade, Flores, 49, long estranged from the equestrian community that once fueled his livelihood, slipped from celebrated polo player to cellmate after becoming the target of a one-day Coachella Valley manhunt.
  
Authorities found Flores on foot near a church on the Torres Martinez Indian Reservation Nov. 18 where authorities arrested him on suspicion of murder. He was unemployed according to his former acquaintances, a sort of drifter who’d sold everything he’d had but his truck and lived in a rented space behind the Kennedy’s Market in Indio. That is where sheriff’s deputies were dispatched at 5:30 a.m. Thursday when witnesses reported two men got involved in an altercation in which several shots were fired, Sgt. Frank Taylor of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Central Homicide Unit said in a statement.  A man they identified as Flores was reportedly seen loading what appeared to be a body into the bed of a 1993 white Ford truck and drove off headed north on Monroe Street, Taylor said.
   
Detectives received a subsequent report of a man meeting Flores’ description in Thousand Palms loading items in a dumpster and cleaning the back of a white truck with a hose, Taylor said. Palm Desert deputies called to the scene at 7:45 a.m. reported finding blood-soaked items in the trash and other evidence nearby, but no victim or vehicle. Taylor said the license plate number from the truck leaving the shooting scene matched the one the caller had copied down.

Authorities released a bulletin to the media containing a photo of Flores and a vehicle description. “Numerous leads were obtained throughout the day and investigators followed each and every one up immediately,” he said.

About 6:20 p.m., authorities received a tip from a witness in Thermal who reported seeing Flores in the vicinity between Monroe and Jackson streets. Flores was arrested without incident, Taylor said.

Flores reportedly provided information that led authorities to the body of a Thermal man, 25, at 10:30 p.m. Thursday night. The body was located in Thousand Palms on a strip of desert just north of 30th Avenue and Monte Vista Way, according to the Riverside County Coroner’s Office. Taylor said the body appeared to have suffered several gunshot wounds. Soon afterward, the white Ford truck was also found south of Jackson Street and Avenue 62 and impounded.

Detectives believe the victim is the same person Flores allegedly shot and killed, but his identity has not yet been released by the coroner’s office.

People in the desert polo community who knew Flores wondered Thursday what went wrong in a life in which everything seemed to be going right. He was called “an amazing horseman” by one Eldorado and Empire Polo club member who recalled playing against Flores in an eight-goal tournament about seven years ago.

“He was playing green horses, maybe 3 or 4 years old. But he was playing them with halters and a rope--a single rope. He could just fly with them down the field and then set them back down no problem,” he said. “Man, he had some talent.”

Flores was booked into the Riverside County Jail in Indio. Bail was set at $500,000 and he is scheduled for arraignment Monday in Riverside County Superior Court. Authorities are still seeking information about the incident from the public. Persons with pertinent information are being asked to contact Investigator Jaime Alvarez (760) 836-1632. 

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