Arrested twice, charges dropped once, nearly 10 years after the crime, 27-year-old Christin Smith’s defense in a triple-homicide case is much more aggressive than that of his co-defendant and friend Robert Pape, 28. Both men were re-arrested in June and charged with committing a 2006 triple homicide in Pinyon. The victims were Jon Hayward, Vicki Friedli and Vicki’s daughter Becky Friedli.
Smith’s lawyer has filed two separate motions, one of which has already been denied, to dismiss the charges against Smith and a third motion to discover the name of a confidential informant the district attorney used as supplying new evidence to bring the latest charges.
In separate motions, his attorney asked the court to dismiss the case against Smith. In the first motion, his attorney, John Dolan of Indio, claims the 10 years the prosecutors took to file charges may “constitute a denial of the right to a fair trial and to due process of law under the state and federal constitutions.”
Dolan also filed a motion claiming that the state penal code (section 1387) bars the prosecution of a defendant whose charges have been dismissed twice. According to Dolan, the original indictment in March 2014 included Smith’s name, but it was stricken and only a complaint was initially filed against him. Then in October 2014, all charges were dismissed against both Smith and Pape.
The DA’s office replied that removing Smith’s name from the indictment and simultaneously moving with the complaint and a preliminary hearing “was a continuous prosecution …”
On Aug. 5, Judge Bernard J. Schwartz denied this defense motion. He set Sept. 7, as the date to hear the first dismissal motion and also for a preliminary hearing for Smith.
A third motion, asking the court to reveal the name of a confidential informant, also has been set for hearing on Sept. 7.
According to the case records, an anonymous caller to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department told Investigator Patterson that they overheard a conversation “in 2007 between people close to Smith” who knew about the search warrants, the investigation and the caller was told “not to talk.”
Finally, in May 2016, county investigators located and identified the anonymous caller who supplied more information. In the most recent statement, the DA says the caller stated, “… Smith directly told the informant that ‘something went wrong and we torched the whole f---in’ place.’”
While Smith’s attorney would like the name of the informant, the DA replied that the only reason to identify a confidential citizen informant is if the person “could supply evidence on the issue of guilt that might result in the defendant’s exoneration.”
Schwartz also will hear this motion on Sept. 7.