RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Two men were charged Wednesday with killing three members of a Southern California household whose bodies were found at a burning home eight years ago.
Robert Pape and Cristin Smith, both 25, are facing three counts of murder with special circumstances that make Pape eligible for the death penalty, although Riverside County prosecutors had not decided whether to seek it.
Pape was an adult but Smith was only 17 at the time of the killings, making him ineligible for the death penalty, authorities said.
Smith pleaded not guilty on Wednesday, but Pape's arraignment was postponed. Both remained jailed without bail. An email seeking comment from Pape's public defender, Godofredo Cuison Magno, wasn't immediately returned.
The men are charged with killing Pape's ex-girlfriend, Becky Friedli, 18; her mother, Vicki Friedli, 53; and her mother's boyfriend, Jon Hayward, 55, in September 2006 at a home in the rural community of Pinyon Pines.
The teenager's body was found on fire in a wheelbarrow near the burning home and the other bodies were found inside the house. Authorities concluded that the mother and her boyfriend had been shot.
Three weeks before her death, Becky Friedli told a friend that Pape had told her "if he couldn't have her, nobody could," according to a court affidavit obtained by the Riverside Press-Enterprise (http://bit.ly/1gr0t3p ).
"Becky also said that Pape had threatened to kill her, but she didn't take it seriously," according to the affidavit.
DNA tests on a business card found near the crime scene found a possible match for Smith, and cellphone records indicated that both men were near the home the night of the killings, authorities said.
They were arrested Tuesday afternoon.
Pape and Smith were charged in a grand jury indictment unsealed Wednesday. Smith's name was removed because he was a juvenile at the time of the killings. He was instead charged directly by prosecutors.
Information from: The Press-Enterprise, http://www.pe.com