Brian Leigh Dripps

Brian Leigh Dripps

Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct information about the prosecutor's office timeline and decision-making process for pursuing a death penalty.

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Brian Leigh Dripps was arraigned in Bonneville County Court Monday for the 1996 murder of Angie Dodge.

Dripps has been charged with first-degree murder and rape. He appeared via video with his attorney, Joshua Taylor, from the Bonneville County Jail. Police arrested Dripps on Wednesday after discovering his DNA matched samples collected from Dodge’s apartment. Dripps admitted to the rape and murder, telling a detective he acted alone in committing the crime.

Dripps was quiet during his arraignment, speaking only when necessary and occasionally stopping to whisper with his attorney.

Taylor said his client wanted to waive the 14-day time limit for his preliminary hearing so the defense could have more time to prepare.

In a preliminary hearing, the prosecution presents evidence to show probable cause for the case to head to district court. The prosecution is not required to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond all reasonable doubt but instead must show the charges are warranted.

Bonneville County Prosecutor Daniel Clark and Taylor both agreed to schedule the preliminary hearing for Aug. 2.

Taylor, an attorney based in Boise, said he was privately retained by a “separate” party” to represent Dripps. The defense attorney asked Magistrate Judge L. Mark Riddoch to approve Dripps for a public defender, saying Dripps had no savings or property and lived off of $1,400 a month from disabilities, and could not afford his attorney fees without the separate party. Riddoch approved the application.

Taylor also asked that his client be granted $100,000 bail. Taylor acknowledged during his argument the judge was unlikely to grant bail but said he had received calls from those who know Dripps showing their support. Taylor also cited Dripps’ limited criminal history, consisting of only two misdemeanor cases.

Clark opposed the motion, citing the potential for Dripps to face the death penalty and the horrific nature of the crime. Riddoch ruled against allowing bail.

“Because of the gravity of the charges and the potential death penalty, I’m going to deny bail at this time,” Riddoch said.

Clark said his office had not made a decision on whether to pursue the death penalty in the case. Taylor said he had discussed the potential of a death sentence with Dripps. Taylor indicated the prosecutor’s office would not make a decision on the death penalty until after his client's arraignment in district court. 

Clark said, as an ethical rule, he does not leverage the potential for a death sentence when negotiating plea bargains. Wrong information about plea bargains was included in an earlier version of this article.

Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.

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