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Justice for Us Army Ranger Cristin Smith
$3,370 raised
5% of $65k goal
7 contributors
32 Weeks running

Pinyon Pines Murders

A tragedy compounded by a wrongful conviction

"Any prosecutor can convict the guilty, but it takes a great prosecutor to convict the innocent." ~Rod Pacheco - Former Riverside County District Attorney



Hello, my name is Jana smith and I am the mother of Cristin Smith. My was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life without parole for a heinous crime in 2006 he did NOT commit. I'm asking for your help. To help me fight for his freedom, we need to raise $65,000 so that Cristin can have a fair and just  re-trial.


A little background on the case...  

This crime was never investigated properly. Many witnesses were never questioned. Cristin's own family was never questioned on his ware about the night of this horrible crime. Witnesses who called in investigators weren't followed up. Cristin was wrongfully detained in 2014 for 6 months. All charges were dropped by the D.A. He wasn't able to be there when his daughter was born. Then was released. By this time, he had lost his military career. Cristin served our Country and fought for our freedom for almost 7 years and received multiple injuries by doing so and two purple hearts.

Cristin has always cooperated with investigators, and has never changed his story.  He flew down to speak with investigators in 2016. As he and his family were on their way to the airport, he was re-arrested and charged with this heinous crime. We have fought for his innocence during this ordeal only to go to trial and have the prosecution manipulate the truth and of witnesses to testify. No 3rd party culpability was allowed in for our defense. The testimony we had for our defense was never allowed. It took the jury 2 weeks to decide on verdict which came after the D.A. was re-elected.

The real people who committed this crime are still free while 2 innocent men are now beginning their life sentences without the possibility of parole. We are seeking funds to hire an appellate attorney for a new trial.  Please if you can help it would much be appreciated and bring justice to all families involved.   Thank you, Jana  Cristin with his wife and mom

US Army Ranger Cristin Smith-War Hero Cristin's Sentencing Video:

Cristin's Sentencing Video Below are significant details about the case:

In Sept 2006, there were three murders in Pinyon Pines, CA. The case was considered cold until 2014 when the police arrested Robert Pape and Cristin Smith. During this first trial, the defense called out District Attorney Paul Zellerbach for pushing the case through to up his numbers for his re-election campaign. The defense called Zellerbach to the stand, which he refused. The judge ended up ordering Zellerbach to the stand and the next day the case was dismissed. Zellerbach lost the election for District Attorney to Mike Hestrin shortly after.

The new district attorney Hestrin said he would re-evaluate the case and then make a decision if they will refile or not. August of 2015 the D.A.'s office re-filed the case and re-arrested Robert Pape and Cristin Smith for the Pinyon Pines Murders. The trial took two years.  After two weeks of deliberation, both Robert and Cristin were found guilty in the case.

Let's look at the facts on this case:

  • Shoe prints did not match
  • DNA on the wheel barrel and Becky sock did not match
  • No guns matched ballistics
  • The cell phones put the boys over an hour away, 45 min after the murders (the police admitted they were doing 90 mph to "prove" they could make it in that time frame) like anybody is going to speeding through a city after killing somebody.
  • The DA admitted to taking sacred heart church of the map off cell towers because it falls under the same cell tower as highway 74.
  • The police admitted to not securing the scene
  • The star witness is a convicted felon and knew about the murders since 2007, but miraculously had something to say after they put a reward out in 2012. Oh and has witnesses saying he was receiving $100,000 to testify. 
  • The star witness also plead the 5th and did not testify, but the judge allowed his recording of the preliminary testimony and denied the defendants the right to cross-examination.
  • The DNA evidence was a partial match until 2016 and somehow with "new technology," but no more DNA to test they got a better match. (Not to mention they had to send the DNA evidence to 4 different labs until they received the results they wanted).
  • Alibi's where never checked
  • Robert cousin was never questioned (who was with Robert at the time of the murders at Roberts house).
  • Roberts mom was never questioned.
  • Cristin's aunt was never questioned.
  • Cristin's mom was never questioned.
  • The AMPM was not checked in time with the video of the 2.
  • Video game consoles with time stamps was never checked.

US Army Ranger Cristin Smith That is to name a few of the alibis not checked and just the tip of the evidence that did not match up.

During these trials, Cristin and Robert were never treated as innocent men even though it states in the constitution "innocent until proven guilty." Cristin never received the correct treatment he needed for the injuries that he received while fighting for his nation.

The jury did not even get the right timeline of the murders. They said Becky was killed first and then they killed the family to cover their tracks. The DA built the entire case around the fact that the parents were murdered and they had to chase down Becky and then killed her last. This scenario usually happens if the jury was not listening or trying to solve the case themselves. The jury also did not follow the jury instructions on if there are two possibilities, one being guilty and one being not guilty then they must go with the not guilty verdict.

From my perspective, I have been friends with these boys for the better half of 13 years and known them for about 20 years. I genuinely believe without a doubt they did not commit the crimes, not only by their character but by the evidence I have seen in the case. Believe me when I say if I had any doubt in their innocents I would not be standing beside them, and Robert would not be the godfather of my son.

I listed some of the evidence that seemed to be manipulated as well as some of the alibis that were not checked on a botched investigation.

Cristin is an honorable man who saved people's lives in the literal sense. At the sentencing there were multiple testimonies on how he pulled men off the battlefield. Even when he was shot in the arm and took shrapnel to his body, he refused treatment until his men were taken care of. Cristin has always been a protector willing the fight for the underdog. Even if he had never met the person before he would go out of his way to help them out. He is a loving father and husband and does not deserve to be treated this way.

Robert is also an honorable man. He is just a joy to be around and whoever meets him immediately loves him. He was a huge animal lover and always rescued animals in need and volunteered his time to helping the animal shelters. Like Cristin he was always willing to help somebody in need, even if it was the first time meeting them. He is a loving husband who also does not deserve to be treated this way.

With that said one thing is for certain, they did not have a fair trial. Whether the judge meant to or not, it was biased, and the jury was unable to hear everything. The judge did not allow 3rd party culpability nor did he allow any of Cristin's service records to serve him as a character reference. He only granted two objections from the defense and weighed in his opinion during the trial. Which you know is not a judge's place to weigh in his opinion.

The reason I bring up 3rd party culpability is because there was somebody who had evidence that could put him at the scene of the crime as well as lied about his alibi. This person also had knowledge about the murders just hours after they took place. Nothing seemed to have been done about this. In my opinion, the case was steered away from this person because if his family ties. His mother is a state assemblywoman and his father an investigator for Riverside and the DA. There are many more pieces of evidence against this person as well. I will also share an interview with Becky father who stated he believed this man was a person of interest just months before Robert and Cristin were arrested the first time.

These are some things I have gathered from following this case since the beginning.

Again I am not asking anybody who reads this to think these boys are innocent on blind faith. What I am asking is for you to not persecute them on what you read in the paper or going with the flow and thinking they are guilty just because they were arrested or found guilty. There was a study found from Northwestern University that 1 in 8 juries get it wrong. I hope everybody who reads this and cares about this case does their homework and reads the evidence and testimonies, and not take everything they hear on blind faith. Both of these men deserve to be reunited with their families.

Both of these men need to be reunited with their families.  Please help us!

For more information on the Pinyon Pines Murder please visit:

Attorney Statement:

Sttement from Cristin's mother:  


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