Man convicted in Angie Dodge murder to be resentenced, released from prison
East Idaho Cold Cases photoChris TappBy Kendra Evensen, firstname.lastname@example.orgIDAHO FALLS — A man convicted in the 1996 rape and murder of Angie Dodge is expected to be resentenced and then released on Wednesday pending the judge’s approval of an agreement struck by attorneys.
Chris Tapp has spent more than 20 years in prison for the crimes. But his lawyer, John Thomas, Bonneville County’s chief deputy defender, says a recent DNA test has excluded Tapp from being there.
As part of the agreement, the rape charge against Tapp would be dismissed although the murder charge would remain. His sentence would also be reduced from 30 years to life to the time he has already served, Thomas said. In exchange, Tapp will waive his right to post-conviction proceedings.
“It’s a victory. We won,” Thomas said, adding that Tapp won’t have to serve 10 more years in prison, register as a sex offender or serve probation or parole. “He walks away a free man tomorrow.”
Although Thomas still believes Tapp is innocent of both crimes, he says his client just wants to move on with his life at this point.
“We will assist the police in any way we can in helping to find the killer,” Thomas said.
Angie DodgeDodge, 18, was slain on June 13, 1996 in her apartment on I Street in Idaho Falls, according to East Idaho Cold Cases, Inc., which adds that a male DNA sample from the crime scene has yet to be identified.
The Idaho Innocence Project, which strives to correct wrongful convictions, has been been working on Tapp’s case for more than 10 years. In a news release issued on Tuesday, officials said they secured DNA testing of evidence, including a pubic hair recovered from the victim’s body, stains on her clothing, and foreign DNA from her fingers.
“All of it pointed to only one person — the mysterious man who left semen on her body,” according to the news release. “New DNA results performed this month affirmed that Tapp is excluded from ALL the DNA evidence.”
The Idaho Innocence Project also says that it, along with Judges for Justice, has gathered evidence showing Tapp falsely confessed — after 40-plus hours of questions and polygraphs — in exchange for immunity.
“He was told that by admitting a small part in the crime and identifying the police’s major suspect, he would serve no prison time. However, when DNA from the semen that was recovered from the victim’s body did not match either the police suspect or Tapp, the police then accused Tapp of both rape and murder,” according to the news release. “He recanted his confession, but was tried anyway and convicted.”
The Idaho Innocence Project also believes that Tapp is innocent of the crimes and says it hopes to help police find the man who is responsible.
“While we celebrate Chris’s freedom, we know that a true killer and rapist is still on the loose. Our hearts go out to all those who have been hurt in this tragedy, to the victim’s family, especially Carol Dodge who has worked with us to free Chris, and to Chris’s family — especially his mom Vera who has stood by her son through years of anguish,” according to the news release.
Thomas hopes people will show up at Tapp’s resentencing, which will take place at 11 a.m. at Bonneville County Courthouse in downtown Idaho Falls on Wednesday, to show their support for him.
“We’re excited. We want everybody to show up if they can,” Thomas said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.