A Heinous Crime – with No Motive?

It was a brutal murder. Inhuman. Monstrous.

Execution at point blank range. Setting three bodies on fire. Raging hatred.


There had to be a motive.

Why would two young men with bright futures, throw their lives away without a motive?

There is no answer, because it didn’t happen.


On The Way to Church…

Sunday, September 17th, 2006, the day of the murders, Robert and Cristin had gone to work as lifeguards at Knott’s Soak City.  The boys had plans to hang out later that day, but because Robert had missed mass in the morning due to work, he had to attend mass that evening.  Because there was no evening mass in English at their parish in Cathedral City, Pape’s mother told him to call Sacred Heart parish in Palm Desert. That’s what the boys did. Phone records show the boys were on their way toward Palm Desert when they called Sacred Heart Church, only to discover they had missed the evening mass.

The prosecution would have you believe that since they missed mass, they decided to continue on up to Pinyon Pines and murder three people.

It is not realistic to believe that the two boys would break with their usual patterns of behavior, abandon all humanity, and risk totally derailing their lives to commit such a horrendous, inhuman act. And even the prosecution offered no motive.

Was Robert jealous of Becky?  All indicators say no. He had moved on many months prior. He had been dating Sara for eight months already. They were blissful and inseparable. Eventually, they even got married!

One of Becky’s pictures of Robert that she kept up in her room. Seen here after the fire. Her collection was characterized as a ‘shrine’ to Robert.

Did he want Becky back? In fact, the opposite is true. Becky kept pictures of Robert up in her room.  According to testimony, it was practically a shrine to Robert. It was her idea to go hiking. Robert never intended to go.

What about Robert initiating contact with Becky on Thursday morning?

Investigators only pulled phone records starting on the Thursday just before the crime.  Becky reached out to Robert a day or two prior. He was simply returning her call. She worked the graveyard shift. She requested a call back after midnight.

But she told Javier that Robert just called ‘out of the blue’?

She knew Javier pined for her.  That she was reaching out to Robert was an uncomfortable truth. Sometimes you just ‘fudge the truth’ a little bit.

What about details Pape shouldn’t have known about the crime scene?

Javier told him, just as Robert explained to the police on Day 1. Javier testified that he did not know those facts for several days. But we know he was at the crime scene early the next morning. Details were certainly buzzing about among the investigators, EMTs and spectators. Plus, Javier is uniquely well connected to law enforcement. His father easily could have known and passed the information along.  He was friends with Becky, so his father would likely pass along the info if he knew. He may not have wanted to expose that connection in the interest of protecting his father’s professional reputation.

Then there is this video.

Was Becky even the Target?

It is just as likely that someone else was the target, and Becky was caught as a witness running away.  Did someone have a score to settle with her mother, or the mother’s boyfriend?  Was it just a home invasion robbery gone bad?

These are pertinent questions to which we have no idea, one way or the other, what the answers are.

Then why prosecute these boys?

There may have been several reasons.

The victim’s families were devastated. They needed closure.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department needed to close the case.  This was a big story.  There was public fear and pressure..  The evidence was tenuous, at best, but they failed to look in other directions. Likely, they turned a blind eye to obvious suspects due to family connections.

The District Attorney’s office wanted the Big Win.  On two occasions, this case coincided with re-election campaigns. Law and Order! It is an effective campaign slogan and this case gave them something to point to.

What about the overheard confession?

For the entire story, click here (coming).

What about the cell phone tower connections?

In short, the cell tower information is ambiguous and subject to interpretation. Experts offer differing facts. For a more in-depth discussion, go here (coming).

What about all the other evidence?

It is tenuous, ambiguous and misleading.. Read about it here (coming).

Then who did it?

Was someone jealous that she was trying to reconnect with Robert? A more recent boyfriend maybe? Becky and her most recent boyfriend had broken up days before the murders.

Was someone angry that he could never get out of the ‘friendzone’, while, at the same time, she was so excited about Robert? Becky’s recent boyfriend’s cousin was in love with her.

Who is the Marine named Dane that Becky told her sister about? And was he angry about being lead on? The mysterious Dane was never investigated.

Maybe Becky wasn’t even the target at all. Maybe Becky’s mother or her live-in boyfriend, was the target, and Becky was just collateral damage.

And who was driving that infamous red truck with the white bed? The one that tried to run the fire truck off the road while fleeing from the direction of the crime scene?

What really happened and who was the real target of the murders? Several theories abound but the Riverside County Sheriff investigators botched the investigation so hopelessly, we might never know the truth.

The only problem is that two innocent men will be sentenced to LIFE IN PRISON.

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  1. Pingback: A Tragedy compounded by a Wrongful Conviction | Pinyon Pines Murders

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