Man accused of killing famed footwear collector to be arraigned

Body of 58-year-old woman found in her backyard pool

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - 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 Thursday.

   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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