One year later, family still moving on from Fernley tragedy

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Updated: 5/19/2014 11:34 pm
FERNLEY, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- This past Tuesday marked one year since one of the worst crimes in recent northern Nevada history.

Five people left murdered. Two of those victims, Bob and Dottie Pape, were discovered after their dream home was set on fire.

In the months that followed, News 4 met the Pape's son and daughter-in-law Robert and Terry, and covered their story as they tried to move on, despite thefts from what was left at the property.

Now, the couple is trying to pick up the pieces, and make a newly-finished home their own, despite the circumstances. What they cannot control are the unusual, and, at times, unexpected actions of the man accused, Jeremiah Bean, as he awaits his upcoming murder trial next month.

There is a box full of love letters, inside a small wicker container.

Letters that tell the story of Bob and Dottie Pape.

A story that Robert and Terry are not ready to read. "We haven't read these yet, we just can't do it yet," said Terry Pape. "It just hurts too much."

The two are still dealing with how their parent's story ended last year. "Some days are worse, some days are okay. Be a year tomorrow since I've seen them," said Robert Pape. "I'll just be glad when everything is over with."

This is the first time Robert has talked publicly about the day his mom and dad's dream home was set on fire, their bodies left inside the garage after being shot on May 13, 2013. A few hundred yards away, inside a second home, the bodies of 67-year-old Angie Duff and 69-year-old Lester Leiber, were also discovered with gunshot wounds.

Bob Pape's truck was found 30 miles west of town, near the Mustang Ranch exit, where the final victim, 52-year-old Eliazar Graham was shot and killed. "It really hard. I don't care about the truck, the money," said Robert. "It's just real hard."

Days later, 25-year-old Jeremiah Bean was arrested and charged with all five murders.

"I think about the other families and how they must be feeling. You know? And, the only thing my brain keeps coming back to, why," asked Terry. "We'll probably never be able to get our brain around that."

Since the arrest, the Papes have rebuilt a new home on the property, and are now in the process of making new memories. An urn rests on the fireplace, with a picture on both sides. "This is where Bob and Dot stay with us now," said Terry. "They watch over us every day."

But the process of starting over was halted this past November at Bean's plea hearing. Instead of taking the plea deal that would have avoided the death penalty in exchange for life in prison, Bean shocked everyone, including his court-appointed attorney.

He pleaded not guilty.

"I couldn't believe it, I was in shock," said Robert. "I said, 'that son of a (expletive).'"

After that hearing, Bean's court-appointed attorney John Arrascada, spoke with Bob and Terry. "And when it was all over he came out and said, 'Mr and Mrs Pape, I'm so sorry for what you're having to go through,'" Terry remembered. "'I have tried my best to get him to take the plea,' and he goes, 'he won't listen to me.'"

"And that's when he walked outside and quit."

Three hearings and a new lawyer later, Bean has kept his plea of not guilty. He has also requested his murder trial be expedited.

"What's happened up to this point in time would suggest to me that the defendant is out of control and not listening to his counsel," said Reno Defense Attorney David Houston.

Houston says he has dealt with his share of difficult clients, but he has never had a client disregard advice during a proceeding. "The real harm comes from the fact that the client is hurting himself or herself by refusing to accept the obvious. It just is a mental health issue, and it's a flaw in the system to the extent that person isn't insane, but they certainly dont know what's best for them. They may know right from wrong, but they don't know what's best versus harmful."

Bean's new attorney, Richard Davies, plans to fight the charges during what may be a lengthy and painful trial. "We feel like we have a really good handle on our defense theory. I think people are going to be surprised when they hear the full story what was going on."

Until Bean's fate is final, life for the Pape's stays frozen in a nightmare they cannot wake up from. "I want the death penalty for him," said Robert. "But, I'd like to see life without parole. It's a toss up."

"I'm waiting for this big hammer to go, clank, it's over," said Terry.

Bean's co-counsel, Paul Yohey, was also replaced by Ken Ward in January. Despite the latest request from Davies to delay the trial, which bean also opposed, the judge has ordered it stay on track to begin June 4.

News 4 will be covering the trial and will keep you posted with any updates.
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dritte197 - 5/21/2014 3:12 PM
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Start working at home with Google. It’s a great work at home opportunity. Just work for few hours. I earn up to $100 a day. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out.

nubgnngs42 - 5/21/2014 6:25 AM
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In other words the "JUSTICE" system worries more about the criminal then the VICTIMS and their families.

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