Sheriff Stan Sniff Commends Pinyon Pines Murder Investigation Teamwork
On June 7, 2018, following a three-week trial and ten days of deliberation, a jury found Robert Pape responsible for the murders of Jon Hayward, Vicki Friedli and Vicki’s daughter Becky Friedli. The jury verdict also held Cristin Smith responsible for Jon and Vicki’s murder. This verdict underscores the significant collaborative efforts in investigation by both the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and the Riverside County District Attorney's Office to bring this tragic event to closure for the families and all others affected.
On September 17, 2006, shortly before 10:00 PM, CAL FIRE responded to a fully engulfed residential structure fire in the 68000 block of Alpine Drive, Pinyon Pines. While battling the flames, firefighters discovered three severely burned bodies and signs of arson. The bodies were ultimately identified as Jon Hayward, Vicki Friedli, and Vicki’s daughter Becky Friedli. Investigators from the Hemet Sheriff’s Station and Central Homicide Unit responded to the scene and began what became a decade-long murder investigation with painstaking thoroughness of detail.
Over the years, the case remained a high priority for both the Sheriff’s Department and the Riverside County District Attorney. Numerous personnel from various Sheriff’s Department units assisted in the search for justice, but most recently Central Homicide Unit Investigators James Dickey and Lester Harvey were assigned as the lead investigators. Thanks to the combined efforts of all those involved, 29-year-old Robert Lars Pape of Cathedral City, and 29-year-old Cristin Conrad Smith of Lacey, Washington, were arrested for Jon, Vicki and Becky’s murders. In the final stages of the case leading up to and during prosecution, Investigators Harvey and Dickey were partnered with DA Investigator Ryan Bodmer, Managing DDA Brandon Smith and Chief Assistant DA John Aki.
Sentencing for Pape and Smith is currently calendared for August 10, 2018, in Riverside. Pape and Smith each face life in prison without the possibility of parole. Following the verdict, Becky’s father, Ron Friedli, stated, "I've waited 11 years and 9 months for this day and I'm very happy. I'm glad to see they were found guilty, and I think the whole Coachella Valley can sleep better now.”
Sheriff Stan Sniff issued the following statement after meeting with his two investigators Monday, June 12th: “We would like to thank DA Mike Hestrin, Chief Assistant DA John Aki, Managing DDA Brandon Smith, DA Investigator Ryan Bodmer, Sheriff’s Investigators James Dickey and Lester Harvey, and all of our teams involved for their dedication in bringing this difficult and complex case to a conclusion and conviction.”