IDAHO FALLS — For the first time in 20 years, Christopher Tapp will sleep in a room without bars Wednesday night, if everything goes as expected during a court hearing Wednesday morning.
“I’m so overwhelmed that he’s coming home,” Vera Tapp, Christopher’s mother, tells EastIdahoNews.com. “I worry about getting my hopes up and I don’t plan on even being in court in case it doesn’t happen.”
Chris Tapp was convicted in 1997 of murdering 18-year-old Angie Dodge at her I Street apartment. He confessed to Idaho Falls Police detectives that he had committed the crime but serious questions have been raised over the years that the confession was coerced or false.
Numerous DNA samples left at the crime scene do not match Tapp’s. The identity of the DNA matches one man who is unknown.
Tapp was sentenced to life in prison and wasn’t scheduled for his first parole hearing for another 10 years.
Judges for Justice, the Idaho Innocence Project and other organizations have been working for years to overturn Tapp’s conviction and have him released from custody.
On Monday night EastIdahoNews.com learned Tapp would be released from prison Wednesday after entering into a deal with the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office. His public defender, John Thomas, and Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney Danny Clark will present the agreement to Judge Alan Stephens. If Stephens signs off, Tapp will be a free man.
Angie’s mother, Carol Dodge, has fought publicly for the past decade for Tapp to be released from prison. She believes he had nothing to do with the crime and should be exonerated.
The news that Tapp would finally be free is a reminder to Dodge that Angie’s killer is still out there.
In a Facebook post, Dodge wrote:
Many News Bulletins are circulated regarding Chris’s release on Wednesday, However; please keep in mind that there is a story (of) great injustice that has never been told. For those of you who support and want Justice for Angie, I hope to see you on Wednesday @ 11:00 at the Bonneville County Courthouse. Thank you …….
The Idaho Falls Police Department tells EastIdahoNews.com Angie’s murder case has never been closed and has been an active investigation since the murder occurred.
“Nothing changes for us as we continue to investigate,” the statement reads.
Stay with EastIdahoNews.com for the latest updates on this developing story.