Judge denies motion to dismiss case against triple murder suspect

Trial-readiness conference pushed back to Aug. 1st

INDIO, Calif. - A judge in Indio has denied a request to dismiss the case against a
man accused in a 2006 triple murder in Pinyon Pines.

Cristin Conrad Smith, 25, was also scheduled to have a trial-readiness conference Friday morning, but that hearing was pushed back to Aug. 1.

News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 were in the courtroom when the judge made the decision.

Cristin Conrad Smith and co-defendant Robert Lars Pape were arrested in
March and charged with the Sept. 17, 2006, killings of Vicki Friedli, 53, her
boyfriend Jon Hayward, 55, and her 18-year-old daughter, Becky, at their Alpine Drive home.

The defendants face three counts of murder, with special circumstance
allegations of committing multiple murders and two sentence-enhancing firearm- use allegations.

The dismissal motion filed by Smith's attorney in April contends there was no reasonable or probable cause to order Smith to stand trial. It also takes issue with the prosecution's evidence and the testimony given at his preliminary hearing.

A judge ruled after the March preliminary hearing that there was enough
evidence for Smith, who has pleaded not guilty, to proceed to trial.

Pape, an ex-boyfriend of Becky Friedli, was indicted by a grand jury, so
a preliminary hearing was not required in his case. The 26-year-old Pape has
an arraignment and bail hearing scheduled June 27.

Firefighters who responded to a blaze at the victims' home the night of
Sept. 17, 2006, found Becky Friedli's burned body in a wheelbarrow about 70 feet from the house. After firefighters doused the blaze, they found the bodies of Hayward and Vicki Friedli inside the house. Both had been shot.

According to testimony and court documents, a cousin and friends of
Becky Friedli told investigators that she mentioned plans to go hiking with
Smith and Pape.

``Pape later told investigators that he and Smith decided not to go hiking with Becky and instead the two men were only with each other the night
of the murders,'' Riverside County District Attorney's Office spokesman John
Hall said.

Smith was found to be a possible contributor to DNA on a business card
discovered near what investigators believed was the starting point of a trail
left by the wheelbarrow containing Friedli's body, according to authorities.

FBI Special Agent Kevin Boles testified at Smith's preliminary hearing
that cell phone records for Smith and Pape showed all calls made to the
defendants between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. went to voicemail.

Shotguns, a handgun holster and shoes also were seized from the suspects' homes.

According to a grand jury affidavit, Pape and Becky Friedli dated for 15
months before they broke up in January 2006. She reportedly told a friend
three weeks before she was killed that Pape had told her ``that if he couldn't have her, nobody could.''

Hall said the District Attorney's Office first received the case for review a year ago, and it was decided that more investigation was needed. The Riverside County Sheriff's Department brought the case back in December, and
the D.A.'s office did follow-up investigating and opted to present the case to a grand jury. Pape was indicted in March, and a complaint was filed against Smith.

Pape could be eligible for the death penalty if convicted because he was an adult at the time of the killings. Smith -- 17 at the time of the slayings
-- faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if found guilty.

Both Pape and Smith are being held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.

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