After spending nearly half of his life behind bars, Chris Tapp was released March 22 from an Idaho state prison.
Tapp, 40, served 20 years of a 30-year sentence for aiding and abetting in the rape and murder of 18-year-old Angie Dodge in Idaho Falls on June 13, 1996.
After Tapp, then 20, became the focus of the murder investigation, police interrogated him for more than 20 hours. He was subject to multiple lie detector tests. Finally, he confessed.
But the DNA collected at the scene did not match Tapp or any of the other suspects he identified. Police and prosecutors knew this but continued with the prosecution based on Tapp’s confession. An Idaho Falls jury convicted him in 1998.
He and the victim’s mother, Carol Dodge, insist he did not commit the crime.
About 10 years ago, Boise State University professor and DNA expert Greg Hampikian and the Idaho Innocence Project took on Tapp’s case. Using new technology, invented in Idaho, they retested the DNA collected from multiple areas of the crime scene and found no DNA from Tapp.
All the DNA tested belongs to one person who has yet to be identified.
Last month, Tapp entered a plea agreement. His sentence was restructured. He was exonerated on the rape charge but not the murder charge. He received credit for time served and was released.
On Tuesday, Tapp and members of the Idaho Innocence Project met with Boise media to talk about the case.
“Everyone is so happy that I am home and I am free and I am able to do what I want now,” Tapp told the Idaho Statesman. “But I don’t want people to forget about Carol. I don’t want people to forget about Angie. That is the story that needs to be told.”
The Idaho Statesman will take a closer look at Tapp’s story this Sunday, April 30.