Pinyon Pines Triple Murder Suspects in Court

Pinyon Pines Triple Murder Suspects in Court

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(FOX11 /CNS)  Two men accused in the 2006 killings of three people in Pinyon Pines, including the ex-girlfriend of one of the defendants, appeared in court in Indio today, although proceedings for both were delayed.

Cristin Conrad Smith and Robert Lars Pape, both 25, were arrested last 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 in Riverside on Wednesday, but Pape's arraignment was rescheduled to today, the same day Smith had a felony settlement conference. Pape's arraignment was postponed to April 16, and Smith is due back in court on March 25.

Both defendants are charged with three counts of murder, with special circumstance allegations of committing multiple murders, and two sentence-enhancing firearm-use allegations.


Two men charged with the 2006 murders of Becky Friedli, her mom Vicki and Vicki's boyfriend Jon Hayward appeared in a Riverside courtroom today for arraignment on triple murder charges. The murder counts against Vicki Friedli and Jon Hayward carry with them special circumstance allegations because firearms were used in the deaths. That makes them eligible for the death penalty. The circumstances surrounding the death of Becky Friedli are not clear. When found she was on fire burning in a wheel barrow.

During today's appearance Cristin Smith pleaded 'not guilty' to the charges. Robert Pape, Becky Friedli's ex-boyfriend, did not enter a plea. His arraignment was continued to March 18th.

Both men are being held without bail.

There have been two arrests in a seven-year-old unsolved triple murder in Pinyon Pines.

18-year-old Becky Friedli , her mom, and her mom's boyfriend were all shot and killed and their house was then set on fire back in 2006.

Riverside County Sheriff's deputies have arrested Becky's former boyfriend --Robert Pape and one of Pape's friends, Christian Smith.

This case had gone cold , but a team of former detectives stayed with it and built a case against the two suspects.

To recap, Becky Friedli was murdered along with her mother and mother's boyfriend on Sept 17, 2006. Becky's body was found burned beyond recognition posed in a wheel barrel in front of the family home. Becky, 18, was in all probability the target of the murderer (or murderers) with her mother and boyfriend as collateral damage.

Previous stories on the triple murder:

Unsolved Triple Murder Case Getting Attention

Cold case: Unsolved Triple Murder Mystery

Families Seek New Help In Solving '06 Triple Homicide (from The Press-Enterprise)

The night before the murder, a former boyfriend and a friend of his had an argument with Becky at Denny's in Palm Desert, California, where she worked as a waitress.  She got off work at
7pm so the argument occurred prior. From what is known the altercation was so intense that it resulted in the friend and former boyfriend being ejected from Denny's. Then of course there was the close friend who picked Becky up from her house at 8 pm (an hour after she got off work at Denny's). That close friend appeared to be the last person to see Becky alive He dropped her back at her house sometime before 1am the next day. There is some reason to believe that law enforcement was thinking of offering the close friend immunity. That might mean he could provide evidence against someone else involved in the murder

What did he see when he dropped Becky at her house? Were the killers lying in wait? Did he see them?  If so why not call police? Anyway this all took place in 2006 and still remains unsolved.  What is the missing link? 

It appears that there were two sets of fresh shoe prints found near the charred body of Becky Friedli.  Then there is some evidence that the DNA on a business card also found close to  Becky's body matched that of a person claiming that they had never been to Becky's house. This raises questions, of course.  A defense attorney would say this does not really prove anything. Still at least it is worth speculating that one of the sets of shoe prints might have belonged to the person whose DNA was found on the card.

Let us not forget that Becky had an altercation the night before the murder with a former boyfriend as a friend of his stood by. Could the shoe prints be those of these two people? Possibly, but as of now there may not be enough proof to make a connection. Besides detectives did not seem to be aware of the significance of the Denny's argument until sometime in 2013 when pro bono PI Luis Bolanos brought it to their attention.  The chances of proving a relationship between the shoe prints and the people involved in the Denny's confrontation probably would be difficult at this late date. Tickling the wire might have yielded  evidence to  prove that relationship but unfortunately I suspect law enforcement could not get a wiretap anywhere close to the time of the murder because further investigation was needed to justify it.  Investigation such as effectively interviewing the Denny's employees where Becky  worked.

To be continued. If you have any information, please call 855-44-BECKY.


From Hal Eisner:

Ron Friedli is "very very happy" after two arrests were made Tuesday in the death of his 18 year old daughter Becky Friedli, his 53 year old ex-wife Vicki and her 55 year old boyfriend Jon Hayward. Ever since their deaths he has never given up hope on finding the murderers. And, now arrests.

Arrested on a "no bail" warrant were Becky's ex-boyfriend Robert Pape and their friend Christin Smith.

The triple murder dates back to September 2006 when it's believed two men entered the Friedli home in the mountain community of Pinyon Pines shot Vicki and Jon and killed Becky. The circumstances of Becky's death are not completely clear, but her body was found on fire inside of a wheelbarrow in front of the home.

The investigation immediately after the murders grew cold. P-I Luis Bolanos and his team of police retired investigators believed the first probe was flawed and that people who should have been questioned weren't. The new investigtion by Bolanos and his team ultimately led to the Riverside Co. DA convening a Grand Jury to question those witnesses who previously were overlooked.

As the Grand Jury probe was ending, Bolanos says, Sheriffs Deputies arrested Christin Smith at the Palm Springs Airport as he was preparing to leave and return to his home in Washington State. They also arrested Becky's ex-boyfriend Robert Pape.

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