A trial date for the case against Brian Leigh Dripps has been set for June 8, 2021.
Defense Attorney James Archibald said he would need a year to prepare for a trial in Dripps’ case given the seriousness of it.
Dripps is charged with first-degree murder and rape, both punishable with up to life in prison, for the 1996 killing of Angie Dodge. Last week the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Dripps.
Archibald filed a request for a second chair to help him represent Dripps, specifically requesting Elisa Massoth from Payette. He also asked for more funding from the county for the case.
Archibald said he also plans to file a motion for a change of venue to Ada County.
District Judge Joel Tingey said he would assign another judge to rule on whether to grant Archibald the extra funding. Tingey expressed concerns about Massoth being added to the case but did not say why.
Only two local attorneys are qualified to be second chair on a death penalty case. One of them, John Thomas, cannot represent Dripps because he represented Christopher Tapp, who had been previously convicted of Angie Dodge’s murder before being exonerated in July.
The other local qualified attorney, Manuel Murdoch, is a candidate to be a magistrate judge in Madison County. If made a judge, Murdoch would have to quit the case, requiring the defense to find another second chair and update them on the case.
Carol Dodge, Angie’s mother, expressed frustration that the trial date had been pushed so far back. She was ambivalent about the death penalty in Dripps’ case, citing the cost to Bonneville County and the long wait for execution. Death sentences can take decades to be carried out while the court considers appeals.
Carol pointed out she had wanted the death penalty against Tapp when he was convicted in 1998. Tapp was exonerated after Carol advocated for his innocence.
Carol added, however, that Dripps basically gave her daughter the death penalty when he reportedly raped and killed Angie Dodge.
“All I want to know is what the hell happened,” Carol said. “Why did you kill my daughter?”
Carol was also concerned that Archibald wanted to move the case to Boise, saying she was concerned she would not be able to make frequent trips for the case.
Archibald said he plans to file a motion for the court to throw out Dripps’ confession to Idaho Falls Police Department detectives. Dripps admitted to killing Angie Dodge when he was arrested in May. Archibald has argued the detectives did not properly inform Dripps of his Miranda rights before interrogating him, citing a recording that showed one of the detectives told Dripps the Miranda form he signed was a “formality.”