A special prosecutor from the Idaho Attorney General’s Office will take over as prosecutor for the Brian Dripps murder case.
The Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office announced it was withdrawing from the case Friday, citing a letter of intent to sue sent by Christopher Tapp to the city of Idaho Falls.
Bonneville County Prosecutor Daniel Clark said in a Friday news release that Bonneville County and the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office were likely to be defendants in a lawsuit filed by Tapp. Clark stated his role as prosecutor and as the attorney for the county created a conflict of interest in Dripps’ case.
“At this time, I must ensure all measures are employed to protect the integrity of Mr. Dripps’ prosecution to include numerous potential actions that may occur with his case in the upcoming months and years,” Clark wrote.
Dripps has been charged with first-degree murder and rape after he admitted to the 1996 killing Angie Dodge. DNA recovered from the crime scene matches his.
Tapp spent 20 years in prison after a jury found him guilty based on his confession and the testimony of a witness who said she overheard him admit to the murder. An investigation determined Tapp’s confession was coerced by officers in the Idaho Falls Police Department. The witness recanted her testimony and said she was pressured into testifying by police.
The motion for a special prosecutor was accepted Friday. The change in attorneys could cause delays in the case as the Attorney General’s Office reviews the evidence. A hearing is scheduled for April 16 for a motion filed by Dripps’ attorneys to have his confession thrown out.
Though he has sent a tort claim to Idaho Falls, Tapp and his attorneys have not filed a lawsuit as of Monday.