After spending 20 years in prison for the 1996 rape and murder of 18-year-old Angie Dodge, Chris Tapp is expected to be freed from prison on Wednesday.
Tapp was sentenced to life in prison after confessing to investigators that he 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.
Lawyers for both the prosecution and the defense confirmed the existence of the deal to the Post Register.
“Chris Tapp has entered into a negotiated deal with the prosecuting attorney wherein he’ll give up his right to post-conviction proceedings, and if the judge accepts the deal, he will be a free man on Wednesday,” Tapp’s attorney John Thomas said in several post-conviction relief actions. Thomas also said Tapp will not admit guilt as a part of the deal, but did not disclose further details. A hearing is planned for today.
Judges for Justice, the Center for Wrongful Convictions, the Idaho Innocence Project, and the New York Innocence Project all worked with Thomas and others to overturn Tapp’s conviction.
Tapp implicated another man named Ben Hobbs in the crime, but prosecutor Danny Clark has said previously there is no evidence apart from Tapp’s confession to charge Hobbs.
Vera Tapp, Chris’ mother, said she looks forward to her son’s homecoming, but is afraid that he will be stigmatized by having the murder charge still hanging over him. “I think the prosecutor could drop the murder charge, because Christopher had nothing to do with murdering Angie Dodge,” Vera Tapp said. “He will still be convicted as a murderer, and he won’t be able to find a job with that on his record.”
Carol Dodge, Angie’s mother, says that she wants the authorities to focus on finding the person who killed Angie.
Main photo: Christopher Tapp 2007 mugshot [Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office]