RIVERSIDE, Calif. - The Riverside County District Attorney Office has decided to not seek the death penalty in the Robert Pape case.
In a statement from John Hall, the Public Information Officer for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, he says "the decision whether or not the seek the death penalty in any such eligible case is made solely by the elected District Attorney."
Hall goes on to state that in all eligible death penalty cases in Riverside County, the District Attorney meets with the next of kin of the victim or victims and also invites the defense attorney in the case to come make a presentation, should they wish to do so. In this case, both of those were done.
Before the DA makes his decision, he also meets with senior attorney staff, the prosecutor assigned to the case, and with law enforcement officers involved in the case.
Cristin Smith, the co-defendant in this case was a juvenile at the time of the crimes and therefore is not eligible for the death penalty.
The maximum sentence for Pape and Smith if convicted as currently charged, would be life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The murders occurred in September 2006. The charred bodies of 18-year-old Rebecca "Becky" Friedli, her mother Vicki Friedli, and Vicki's boyfriend Jon Hayward, were discovered at a residence in the small mountain community of Pinyon Pines.
At about 9:50 p.m., firefighters were called to a residential structure fire in the 68000 block of Alpine Drive in Pinyon Pines. Firefighters found Becky Friedli’s body on fire in a wheelbarrow near the home. After extinguishing the house fire, firefighters found the bodies of Vicki Friedli and Hayward inside the residence.