Christopher Tapp has revealed his feelings about being released from prison after serving 20 years for a crime he may not have committed.
“I want to experience my life. I want to go start my life and show that I was worth something. I’m innocent of this crime, and I’ve always been innocent of this crime,” Tapp, who was convicted of the 1996 rape and murder of Angie Dodge, said in an interview from jail with East Idaho News.
“I can’t wait to hold my mom and not watch her leave,” he added.
Tapp was sentenced to life in prison after confessing to investigators that he had indeed committed the crime. But, in recent years, a slew of experts have concluded that Tapp’s confession was false and motivated by the fact that the police threatened him with the gas chamber if he did not cooperate.
In addition, testing done on sperm DNA and hairs left at the 1996 murder scene have found that none match Tapp.
“I want to be the voice for people who have been wrongfully convicted,” Tapp said. “I want to be there for some child one time in my life so they don’t make the same mistakes I did.” He adds, however, that he would be “happy digging ditches for the rest of my life” if it means that he can take care of his family.
He said that he feels some “anxiety” about re-entering a world that has changed a lot since his incarceration — the Motorola flip phone was in vogue when he went away — but is excited to begin the rest of his life. Tapp, who plans to move away from the Idaho Falls area, said that he hopes to continue to draw attention to Dodge’s murder, and that he wants the city of Idaho Falls to continue to hunt for the killer.
There may be some progress on that front: The Idaho Falls Police Department has obtained a sketch of a primary suspect in Dodge’s rape and murder. The sketch was compiled by using DNA from the semen found at the crime scene.
Idaho Falls police said they could not release the sketch to the public at this time, because they are still investigating.
Main photo: Christopher Tapp 2007 mugshot [Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office]