Robert Lars Pape
Photo courtesy Riverside County Sheriff’s Department

Trial preparations for Robert Pape and Cristin Smith, charged with the 2006 Pinyon murders of Jon Hayward, Vicki Friedli and Vicki’s daughter Becky, began last week.

One of the first matters addressed was Riverside County Superior Court Judge Bernard Schwartz’s decision to conduct one trial with two juries — one for each defendant.

But last week, both defendants agreed to a single jury.

Schwartz plans to begin jury selection Tuesday, April 10, and begin the trial with opening statements on April 16.

Several of the pretrial motions from the prosecutor and defense attorneys were argued and decided last week, and others will continue this week.

The defense wanted to exclude evidence that Pape had been convicted in 2007 of petty theft, a misdemeanor. Schwartz decided that if Pape testifies, the prosecutor may use this evidence to attempt to impeach his testimony.

The defense arguments attempting to implicate Javier Garcia and Jacob Santiago do not meet California’s standards for third-party culpability. Schwartz granted the prosecutor’s motion to exclude this type of evidence.

Cristin Conrad Smith
Photo courtesy Riverside County Sheriff’s Department

Besides preparation for jury selection, other pretrial motions will be before the court this week.

The murders occurred on Sept. 17, 2006, in Pinyon Pines. Becky’s body was found burning in a wheelbarrow outside the house. The other bodies were found inside the burning home. An affidavit from the DA’s Office stated that Haywood died from a 12-gauge shotgun wound to the chest. Vicki’s death was caused from a wound to the head, possibly from a Glock handgun. Pape was Becky’s former boyfriend.