On Friday, Aug. 22, a hearing on whether to combine the trial of Robert Pape and Cristin Smith for a triple homicide in Pinyon in 2006 was rescheduled for Monday, Sept. 15.
In July, the prosecution submitted a request to consolidate the trials, but Pape’s defense objected.
The District Attorney’s office recommended that the trials of Pape and Smith be joined based on California Penal Code 1098. “The present case grows out of the same event, occurring on the same date, involving similar behavior, and the elements of the three charges each defendant faces are the same … given the similarities between the cases of the two defendants,” according to the DA’s brief to the judge.
Pape’s attorney, Richard Blumenfeld, objected to the joining of the two trials for several reasons, which he argued would be prejudicial to his client. One reason was that Smith made a statement to Riverside County Sheriff’s Department investigators that Pape might not want admitted at his trial.
On the night of Sept. 17, 2006, Becky Friedli, 18, her mother, Vicki Friedli, 53, and Vicki’s boyfriend, Jon Hayward, 55, were found dead at their Pinyon home. Becky’s body was found burning in a wheelbarrow outside the house. The other bodies were found inside the burning home.
On March 11 this year, both Pape, 26, and Smith, 25, were arrested and charged for these murders. They were high school friends.