In September 2006, three Pinyon Pines residents were brutally murdered. On Friday, Aug. 10, two months after a jury found Robert Pape, 30, and Cristin Smith, 29, guilty, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Bernard Schwartz sentenced both to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The District Attorney’s Office already had agreed to remove the death penalty from the sentencing options.
The jury had found both guilty of the first-degree murder in the deaths of Jon Hayward and Vicki Friedli. Pape alone was found guilty of the second-degree murder of Becky Friedli, Vicki’s daughter.
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. Hayward 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.
During the sentencing hearing, many members of the victims’ families, as well as members of the defendants’ families, expressed their opinions on an appropriate sentence to the court. Pape and Smith also made a statement to Schwartz.
In July, Hayward’s older sister, Penny Dunseth, wrote a letter to Schwartz expressing her opinion on their prospective sentencing.
“Maybe Becky’s death was not planned. Maybe it was an accident. However, if either of these men had an ounce of humanity in them, the carnage could have stopped there,” she wrote.
“Jon was only 55 when he died in 2006. However, there was no illness or accident. There was selfishness, egotism, and a complete lack of humanity on the part of Robert Page and Cristin Smith,” she wrote.
“… They have no remorse, repentance or shame. The only thing they regret is getting caught … Short of execution, I believe they both deserve nothing less than life in prison.”
Earlier, Smith’s attorney refiled a motion to dismiss the case against him because of prejudicial delay denying him the right to due process and a fair trial. Schwartz denied the motion prior to the sentencing hearing’s beginning.