Editor’s note: Some of the recordings attached to this story contain language some may find objectionable.
A woman who testified she overheard Christopher Tapp admitting to killing Angie Dodge now claims she lied under oath after police fed her details on the case and pressured her to testify.
In 1998 Destiny Osborne, then 18 years old, told a jury she was at a party and overheard Tapp and Benjamin Hobbs, another suspect in the murder who was never charged, talking about the killing. Recently, Caldwell man Brian Dripps was charged in Dodge’s murder based on a DNA match and a confession, in which he said he acted alone.
Bonneville County Prosecutor Daniel Clark cited Osborne’s testimony in a 2016 review of the case prompted by revelations police had fed Tapp details of the murder during interrogation. Clark also cited statements from a woman named Brenda Muchow that Tapp admitted to the murder when they were in rehab together.
“Ultimately as Tapp disclosed to detectives how he participated in the murder of Angie Dodge, his statements were very similar to those statements he made to Ms. Osborne and Ms. Muchow,” Clark wrote in the review.
In an exclusive interview with the Post Register on Wednesday, however, Osborne alleged Idaho Falls Police Department officers told her what to say and told her she had suppressed memories through her drug use.
Carol Dodge, Angie’s mother, sat in on the interview and confirmed Osborne admitted to her in 2017 that she lied on the stand during Tapp’s trial. Tapp also confirmed that Osborne said two years ago she lied. And two other sources connected to the case confirmed on background they heard the same explanation during the same time frame, one directly from her and one indirectly.
According to Osborne, law enforcement officers told her she could be charged with a crime if she did not speak with them.
“I was manipulated and coerced and fed a huge story and threatened 23 years ago by the many members of the Idaho Falls Police Department to falsely testify against Chris Tapp,” Osborne told the Post Register.
Osborne said she was confined in the Behavioral Health Center from 1996 to 1998 due to a prior, unrelated offense, entering the facility shortly after Dodge was killed and exiting before Tapp’s trial. Because she was staying at the Behavioral Health Center, Osborne was able to avoid answering questions until after she left.
Osborne named three officers who talked to her: Jared Fuhriman, Ken Brown and Phillip Grimes. She said other officers were also present, but she couldn’t remember them specifically.
“They came there and talked to me, and honestly they just didn’t believe me when I told them I didn’t know anything,” Osborne said.
Osborne said several people told police she knew Tapp, Hobbs and Dodge.
Both Osborne and Hobbs told the Post Register they did not know each other and had never met, in contrast with her 1998 testimony that they were at a party together.
“I don’t remember her,” Hobbs said Thursday.
Recordings of Osborne’s interviews were not provided to Tapp’s defense attorney before his 1998 trial.
“I kept telling them ‘I really don’t know anything, and I don’t have any information to give.’ It progressively got to the point where I was literally fed a story, and when I would ask them ‘How come I don’t remember none of that? I have no knowledge of that.’ They told me (it was) possibly because of the drugs that I had done, I had blocked it out or suppressed it,” she said.
The interview techniques described by Osborne are similar to those seen in police interrogations of Tapp. Judges for Justice reviewed his confession and found it had been coerced with threats of the death penalty unless he confessed and promises of immunity.
Osborne said she was told she could be charged with a crime for refusing to testify. She said the interviews sometimes lasted hours.
“Finally, I remember I got so stressed out and I was crying and I was like, ‘Please, I just need to leave, I can’t be in this room no more,’” Osborne said. “They did let me leave with the promise that I would return the next day at 1 or 2 o’clock and kind of do the same thing again.”
Osborne said the officers would have her repeat her testimony and correct her. She described one time when she told them she met Tapp at a small gathering and the officers told her it was at a party.
She also said police showed her video of Tapp’s confession to convince her he committed the crime. Osborne claims police told her if she did not testify, she would disappoint Carol Dodge and let a murderer walk free.
Osborne said she had met Tapp in a gathering of a few people before Angie’s death, but said the party mentioned in her testimony was made up.
During Osborne’s testimony in 1998 Defense Attorney Robert Booker accused Bonneville County Prosecutor Kipp Manwaring of leading the witness. Manwaring had asked Osborne on the stand if she had been to parties around the time of Angie’s death. Osborne said she had been to parties, but couldn’t remember the time frame or the night of a specific party. Manwaring began describing the party he was asking about.
“Your Honor, I object. I think Mr. Manwaring is beginning to lead and make suggestions to the witness which are not appropriate on direct examination,” Booker said, according to the transcript.
“Well, normally, it’s not, but I will allow him to see if he can refresh her memory,” Judge Ted Wood responded.
Booker also questioned the reliability of Osborne’s testimony because of her methamphetamine addiction. Osborne testified she was high when she overheard Tapp and Hobbs.
Osborne was arrested in 2017 as part of an FBI drug bust and charged with multiple felonies. She pleaded guilty to one charge and was sentenced to six months house arrest and three years probation. She said the pending case was one reason she had been reluctant to go public before now with her admission of false testimony during the 1998 trial. Before that, she said, she was involved in a longterm abusive relationship, and she felt afraid to come forward.
Osborne said she came to believe she had heard Tapp and Hobbs talking about the murder. After her testimony, she felt confused because she could not remember what had happened.
“I remembered the majority of other things and everything else in my life. Why would I just not remember certain things that they were telling me?” Osborne said.
Osborne said she was afraid of being charged with perjury. After Tapp was released from prison, Osborne told both Tapp and Carol Dodge she had lied. Her defense attorney in the drug case discouraged her from going public, however, because saying she lied 23 years ago could negatively affect her case. Osborne was sentenced in that case last month.
Idaho Falls Police Department Spokeswoman Jessica Clements said the police department had not spoken to Osborne recently. She said the department plans to speak to her.
The Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office did not return a request for comment.
IFPD and prosecutors have both previously said they are reviewing the case in light of Dripps’ confession.
Osborne said she has been haunted by the guilt of her false testimony for the past two decades, but she has been able to find forgiveness in telling to Tapp and Dodge she lied.
“It’s very relieving just to be able to tell the truth and not have to just carry around a lie,” Osborne said.