Friends & family react to Pinyon Pines triple murder verdict

Pape & Smith both found guilty in murders

Family and friends react to the verdicts in the Pinyon Pines triple murder case

RIVERSIDE, Calif.- - After 10 days of deliberation, guilty is the verdict on most of the charges in the Pinyon Pines triple murder trial. Robert Pape was found guilty in all three murders. Cristin Smith was found guilty in two of them. Both men now facing the possibility of life in prison without parole.

Families outside the courthouse had mixed emotions. Some said justice had finally been served while the defendants' families say the verdicts are all wrong. 

"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," said Ron Friedli father of Becky Friedli. 

Becky was an 18 years old when she was killed and her body burned at her Pinyon Pines home in 2006. Her mother, Vicki Friedli, and mother's boyfriend, Jon Hayward were shot and killed. The family's home was burned to the ground. 

The 12-year-old triple murder case was left unsolved until now.

"The waiting was really really hard, but what it told me, is the fact that they were asking for different pieces of evidence to review, is that they were working on it the whole time and doing a really good job on it and I'm really happy with the outcome," Ron said.

Following two weeks of deliberation, the defendants, Robert Pape, 30, and Cristin Smith, 29, have been convicted of first and second-degree murder. Their families left the courtroom in tears.

Pape's aunt, Christine Smith, feels confident the verdicts are wrong.

"They've got the wrong guys. they've had the wrong guys for 12 years," Christine said.

Both Pape and Smith were convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of Vicki Friedli and Jon Hayward. 

Pape was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Becky Friedli while Smith was found not guilty in her death. 

The lead prosecutor on the case is commending the jury's decision. 

"It's clear that they believe something went wrong and what went wrong happened between Mr. Pape and Becky and Cristin was there to help clean up and I feel that's what their verdict signaled and said," said Assistant District Attorney John Aki, the lead prosecutor on the case.

"Unbelievable, we've known, everyone who knows the boys know, they had nothing to do with this. They never left the valley floors that night, this is unbelievable, people," Christine responded.

Becky Friedli's long-time friend was emotional while explaining she knew the two were guilty all along. 

"Justice was served, it took 12 years, but we got em," said Jeanie McDaniel, a close friend of Becky.

After the verdict, KESQ & CBS Local 2's Lauren Coronado asked Cindy Hayward, Jon Hayward's ex-wife, what she expected going into the courtroom today. She responded, "We didn't know how it would go. We were hoping for this."

"It's been a long time coming, but I'm glad it's over," Ron said.

Christine Smith is still hopeful the verdict will get overturned.

"We're going to get this done in appeals court, we'll get this done," Christine said.

Pape and Smith are facing life in prison without parole. Their sentencing date is scheduled for August 10.

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