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 a long journey for Michael Usry Jr. and his family.

Briefly investigated in the 1996 murder of Angie Dodge two decades after the fact and based solely on a partial DNA match to his father, Usry’s life has been haunted by the case for nearly three years.

During that time he’s gone from being considered a suspect — or at least closely related to the suspect — in a murder case, based on one DNA test, to having his entire family cleared of suspicion by another more extensive DNA test.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that additional states have passed recording requirements.

The United States criminal justice system has seen a large, growing number of exonerations of wrongfully convicted defendants in recent years.

Steve Drizin and others who fight wrongful convictions say the media needs to improve crime reporting practices.

Drizin is the former director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions.

The Angie Dodge murder investigation is the subject of an Investigation Discovery documentary, titled “Who killed Angie Dodge? Keith Morrison investigates,” that will air at 6 p.m. Monday.

The two-hour report will be shown in the Idaho Falls area on Cable One Channel 112, DISH TV Channel 192 and DirecTV Channel 285.

https://discovery.box.com/s/owdjo0bx900jtd65v1e4uw6x7m9gleum

Convicts who believe they were wrongfully convicted of murder or forcible rape may benefit from a $630,000 federal grant to test DNA.

But none of the money can be used in Idaho cases.

Why? Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden will not sign a federally required form certifying that the state’s DNA testing and collection practices comply with federal requirements. He told Boise State University that those requirements and Idaho law do not mesh, and that he has no jurisdiction over Idaho law enforcement agencies.

The Idaho Falls Police Department released a DNA-based sketch of the man who killed 18-year-old Angie Dodge more than two decades ago.

Police Chief Mark McBride unveiled the sketch at a press conference Wednesday morning, emphasizing that investigators have never given up on finding out who killed Dodge in June 1996.

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.

Pages