DNA Databases Police

In this May 16, 2019 photo, Christopher Tapp hugs Carol Dodge at the conclusion of a press conference where the Idaho Falls Police announced that Brian Leigh Dripps had been arrested for the murder of Carol’s daughter Angie in 1996, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Detectives identified Dripps using GEDmatch. Carol’s son Brent is pictured left.

A status conference has been scheduled for Monday on Christopher Tapp’s murder conviction.

The Idaho Innocence Project announced the hearing in a news release Thursday night.

“We are hoping that the prosecutor will take this opportunity to address what is now a tortuously long process of exoneration,” the news release said.

Tapp was released from prison in 2017 after serving 20 years in prison. Tapp had admitted to the 1996 murder of Angie Dodge. Questions about his guilt were raised after Public Defender John Thomas argued Tapp’s confession had been coerced by police. His DNA did not match that found at the scene of the murder.

Tapp made a deal with the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office that allowed him to be released from prison with the rape conviction dropped. Though he has proclaimed his innocence, his murder conviction still stands. Tapp’s deal means he cannot seek any further challenges to his conviction or compensation for his imprisonment.

The Idaho Falls Police Department arrested Brian Dripps in May after an investigation found his DNA matched the samples at the scene. Dripps admitted to the murder, telling police he acted alone. A week after Dripps was arrested, a witness who testified she overheard Tapp admit to the murder recanted her testimony, saying it was coerced by police.

Bonneville County Prosecutor Daniel Clark has said he is reviewing Tapp’s case in light of Dripps’ statements. At the press conference 42 days ago Idaho Falls Police Chief Bryce Johnson said it would be “a couple of weeks” before his department could address Tapp’s case.

“My office is committed to determining the veracity of Mr. Dripps’ statement, and we have been looking forward to this case for some time,” Clark said in May.

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