Crime

Suspect in 1996 rape, homicide of Angie Dodge said he didn’t intend to kill her, police say

Idaho Falls police chief details DNA evidence, arrest in Angie Dodge case

Caldwell police arrested Brian Leigh Dripps Sr. on a warrant for first-degree murder in perpetration of a rape, in connection to the 1996 killing of Idaho Falls resident Angie Dodge.
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Caldwell police arrested Brian Leigh Dripps Sr. on a warrant for first-degree murder in perpetration of a rape, in connection to the 1996 killing of Idaho Falls resident Angie Dodge.

The Caldwell man accused of raping and killing an 18-year-old Idaho Falls woman more than 20 years ago appeared in court in Bonneville County on Monday.

Magistrate Judge L. Mark Riddock presided over the arraignment for 53-year-old Brian Dripps Sr., who is being held without bond on one count of first-degree murder during the commission of a rape and one count of rape, according to online court records.

The victim in the case, Angie Dodge, was raped and stabbed to death in her Idaho Falls apartment in June 1996.

Dripps had to be transferred from the Canyon County jail to the Bonneville County Jail after being arrested last week.

Dodge’s killing has been an ongoing mystery, after the man previously connected to her killing, Christopher Tapp, was freed from prison.

According to a copy of the probable cause affidavit filed in Dripps’ case, a sample of his DNA was obtained from a cigarette butt he discarded on May 10 and was submitted to the Idaho State Police Forensic Services Lab for analysis the same day. On May 11, the lab confirmed that the DNA on the cigarette matched DNA found at the Dodge crime scene, according to the affidavit.

On May 15, Dripps was asked to meet with law enforcement at the Caldwell Police Department, and he voluntarily went, the affidavit says. Once at the station, Dripps reportedly signed a Miranda rights form and spoke with police. He initially denied involvement in the Dodge case but later confessed, according to documents, and was booked into the Canyon jail that same day.

“He initially continued to deny having entered Angie Dodge’s apartment,” the probable cause affidavit states. “He then admitted to killing Angie Dodge. He said that he intended only to rape her and did not mean to kill her.

“He confirmed that he entered Dodge’s apartment by himself with a knife with the intent to rape her, that he did in fact rape her, that he had held a knife to her throat during the commission of the rape, and had cut her throat. He said that he washed his gloves in the bathroom, because they were covered in blood. He said however that he believed that Angie Dodge was still alive when he left her apartment. He said that he then returned to his apartment across the street.”

If convicted, Dripps faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of up to life or the death penalty. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 2 in Bonneville County.

History of the case

Defense attorneys claim that Idaho Falls detectives coerced a confession from Chris Tapp, whose DNA never matched the DNA found at the scene of Dodge’s killing. Tapp spent 20 years in prison before he was freed with the help of the Idaho Innocence Project.

After several appeals, an agreement was reached in which Tapp’s conviction for aiding and abetting murder would stay on his record, but his conviction for aiding and abetting rape would be dropped, and he would be released. Dodge’s family members have publicly said that they do not believe Tapp is responsible for her death.

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