Eight-year-old Chris Fridella contacted police in the early morning hours of June 19, 1982, notifying them that his father and two of his father’s friends had been shot. When authorities arrived at the scene, they found Steven Fridella, Bobby Martindale, and Gary Petersen dead, lying face down on the floor with their hands bound behind them. The victim’s wallets had been rummaged through and the house had been scoured in an apparent search for valuables.
Approximately six months later, Robin Fridella, Steven Fridella’s ex-wife, furnished police with information that pointed to Richard Cooper and his accomplices: Terry Van Royal, Jason Dirk Walton and Jeff McCoy. During an interview, Cooper confessed to the murders.