The Post Register has been reporting on the 1996 murder of Angie Dodge since it occurred. In 2014, coverage of the case increased as efforts to exonerate the man convicted of the murder, Chris Tapp, also increased and became more public. Tapp has spent more than 19 years incarcerated for the crime that many wrongful conviction advocates, including Judges for Justice and the Innocence Project, feel he did not commit. This page compiles all of the Post Register's coverage of the case and the efforts to exonerate Tapp dating back to 2013.

It’s been about a month since Chris Tapp was freed from prison.

“Twenty years ago my life ended, and I started another chapter in life,” he said in an interview at his home. “Now, that life ended. So now I’m trying to pick up a new life.”

He said he’s working to try to figure out who he is — to remember who he was before a judge sentenced him to life in prison.

It’s been nearly 21 years since 18-year-old Angie Dodge was killed in her apartment in the letter streets neighborhood of Idaho Falls.

And though police, defense investigators, outside investigators and Carol Dodge, Angie’s mother, have pursued a variety of leads over the decades and across the country, so far no match has been found to the numerous DNA samples found at the crime scene. All the samples match one unknown man.

The case, in short, is very cold.

When professor Steve Drizin learned that Chris Tapp had taken a deal that would let him out of prison but leave a murder conviction on his record, he took to Facebook to share his thoughts.

“Make no mistake. It’s a bittersweet day,” he wrote.

Friends, family and supporters packed into the Centennial Courtroom at the Bonneville County Courthouse on Wednesday to watch Chris Tapp go free.

Among them was Carol Dodge, the mother of murder victim Angie Dodge, who has for years worked tirelessly to bring about Tapp’s release from prison. Carol Dodge believes in Tapp’s innocence even though his murder conviction for her daughter’s death remains on his record.

Chris Tapp is a free man.

“We never thought it would happen,” he said Wednesday on the lawn of the Bonneville County Courthouse.

He was brought into the courtroom in handcuffs shortly before 11 a.m., dressed not in prison garb but in street clothes suitable for his new life. After a series of procedural questions to Tapp, Public Defender John Thomas and Bonneville County Prosecutor Danny Clark, Judge Alan Stephens reduced Tapp’s sentence to time served, vacated his rape conviction and ordered no probation. The bailiffs removed his cuffs.

All the pieces are in place for Chris Tapp to be released Wednesday after 20 years in prison.

Public Defender John Thomas first took up Tapp’s case in 2009. For him, it’s the end of an eight-year road full of long hours and uncertainty. Tuesday night, he felt the cloud of uncertainty had lifted. The finish line stands clearly in sight.

“We are victorious,” Thomas said.

BOISE — A deal has been reached in the Chris Tapp case that is expected to make him a free man Wednesday. He has spent just under half of his life in a prison cell.

Lawyers for both the prosecution and the defense confirmed the existence of the deal to the Post Register on Monday evening. Judge Alan Stephens must approve the deal.

A deal has been reached in the Christopher Tapp case, officials on both sides of the deal said.

Tapp was convicted of the 1996 rape and murder of 18-year-old Angie Dodge in 1997. He maintains his innocence.

Judge Alan Stephens has yet to sign off on the deal, officials said Monday evening. Both sides are expected to meet with Stephens on Tuesday, and a court hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday.

Chris Tapp’s two petitions for post-conviction relief will be heard in April, when two extensive evidentiary hearings will be held.

So April may be Tapp’s last, best chance to argue that he is innocent of the 1996 murder of 18-year-old Angie Dodge.

A key development is that Judge Alan Stephens will treat videos of Tapp’s polygraph sessions as new evidence. Tapp’s attorneys and a team of false confession experts claim that the polygraphs were used to coerce a false confession.

For more than a year, the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office has conducted a review of the evidence against Chris Tapp, who has served 20 years in prison for the 1996 murder of Angie Dodge.

On Thursday, Prosecutor Danny Clark finished that review.

Clark conducted his review under the guidelines of rule 3.8 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. In this role, a prosecutor is to act as a “minister of justice” rather than an “advocate.”

Judge Alan Stephens has dismissed part of one of Chris Tapp’s petitions for post-conviction relief, while allowing other parts to move forward.

While Thursday’s ruling is mixed, it leaves Tapp an avenue to mount a substantive challenge to his conviction for the 1996 murder of 18-year-old Angie Dodge.

A key hearing in one of Chris Tapp’s petitions for postconviction relief ended without a ruling Tuesday. A final ruling is expected within the next few weeks.

Tapp is serving a sentence of 30 years to life for the 1996 murder of 18-year-old Angie Dodge, though many criminal justice experts claim he was wrongfully convicted.

The petition is based on the claim that prosecutors failed to disclose tapes of several interrogation and polygraph sessions Tapp underwent, sessions during which he was threatened with the death penalty and offered leniency in return for cooperation.