Translate this page
Two men suspected in Pinyon Pines killings make initial court appearance on murder charges
Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Issue 11, Volume 18.
Cristin Conrad Smith and Robert Lars Pape, both 25, were arrested Tuesday in connection with the deaths of Vicki Friedli, 53, her boyfriend Jon Hayward, 55, and Friedli's 18-year-old daughter Becky. The three were killed Sept. 17, 2006, at their home on Alpine Drive.
Smith pleaded not guilty to the charges, but Pape's arraignment was rescheduled to Tuesday, the same day Smith has a felony settlement conference in Indio.
Both defendants are charged with three counts of murder, with special circumstance allegations of committing multiple murders,and two sentence- enhancing firearm-use allegations.
Pape, a Rancho Mirage resident, could be eligible for the death penalty if convicted because he was an adult at the time of the killings, Riverside County District Attorney's Office spokesman John Hall said.
Smith, who's from Washington state, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if found guilty. He was 17 at the time of the murders.
Smith was arrested at Palm Springs International Airport about 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, and Pape in Salton City shortly after 4 p.m. Both are being held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.
Pape, Becky Friedli's ex-boyfriend, was charged in a grand jury indictment handed down Tuesday and unsealed this morning in Riverside. Smith was originally named in the indictment, but was stricken from the document today because he was a juvenile at the time of the murders, Hall said. A criminal complaint was filed against him instead.
The District Attorney's Office first received the case for review in April 2013, and it was decided that more investigation was needed. The Riverside County Sheriff's Department brought the case back December, and the D.A.'s office did follow-up investigating and opted to present the case to a grand jury.
"Unfortunately, ithas taken a long time for this investigation to reach this point. Now that charges have been filed against these two men, we are hopeful that this will bring some solace to the victims' families," District Attorney Paul Zellerbach said.
The grand jury that reviewed the case heard testimony from about 30 witnesses in five days, Hall said.
Firefighters who responded to a fire at the victims' home the night of Sept. 17 found Becky Friedli's body burning in a wheelbarrow about 70 feet from the house. After firefighters doused the blaze, they found the bodies of Hayward and Vicki Friedli inside the house; both had been shot, according to the D.A.'s office.
A friend of Becky Friedli's told investigators that she had told him on the phone earlier that evening that she was waiting for Pape and Smith so the three could go hiking.
"Pape later told investigators that he and Smith decided not to go hiking with Becky and instead the two men were only with each other the night of the murders," Hall said.
DNA matched to Smith was found on a business card found near what investigators believed was the starting point of a trail left by the wheelbarrow containing Friedli's body, according to Hall. Smith said he'd never been to the Friedli home, the spokesman said.
"The chance that such a DNA match could happen at random is 1 in 320,000," he said.
According to a grand jury affidavit, Pape's and Smith's phones were shut off between 7 and 11 p.m. the night of the killings, and in October 2007, three 12-gauge shotguns and a holster for a Glock handgun were found at the suspects' homes.
According to the affidavit, Pape and Becky Friedli dated for 15 months before they broke up in January 2006. She reportedly told a friend three weeks before she was killed that Pape had told her "that if he couldn't have her, nobody could."
The Valley News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.
The Village NewsAnza Valley OutlookFallbrook.orgSourcebookPDF VersionCoupon CornerSign up for iNewsEarthquake Info
357 Medical marijuan...
265 Arrests now numb...
175 Authorities seek...
168 Man hit, killed ...
125 Mother-in-law ar...
122 Camp Pendleton a...
121 Bikers steering ...
121 Authorities dist...
118 22 suspected ill...
117 Double fatality ...
114 Murrieta Mayor A...
114 Temecula mosque ...
110 Governor Brown s...
107 Bonsall man (lon...
105 Preliminary hear...