Nearly seven months after two men were arrested for a triple homicide that occurred eight years ago, the Riverside County District Attorney’s office has dismissed all the charges against Robert Lars Pape and Cristin Conrad Smith.
In March, a grand jury indicted Pape and Smith, but because he was under 17 years old at the time, Smith’s indictment had to be dismissed and he had to be arraigned in front of a judge. Riverside County Judge James Hawkins later ordered Smith to stand trial for the homicides, too.
The motion to dismiss was made Friday morning Oct. 3, at the scheduled hearing on whether to deny a motion for DA Paul Zellerbach to appear as a witness in an evidence hearing.
In a press release, the DA’s office stated, “Upon a closer review of the grand jury proceedings, the District Attorney’s office has determined that legal issues arose during the proceedings against defendant Pape that make it appropriate to dismiss the case at this time. Although defendant Smith was held to answer after a preliminary hearing, the District Attorney’s office has concluded that it would not be appropriate to continue the criminal proceedings solely against defendant Smith so the charges against both men have been dismissed.”
In the release, the District Attorney’s office stated its commitment to continuing its investigation of the murders of Becky Friedli, 18, her mother, Vicki Friedli, 53, and Vickie’s boyfriend, Jon Hayward, 55, who were found dead on the night of Sept. 17, 2006.
When asked if Smith and Pape would continue to be suspects in the ongoing investigation, John Hall, DA’s office senior public information specialist, responded, “All we are saying is the investigation is ongoing.”