WATCH: Chris Tapp pleads not guilty to domestic battery charge
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IDAHO FALLS — Christopher Tapp appeared in court Tuesday after he was arrested on charges of domestic battery and interference with a telecommunication device.
Tapp pleaded not guilty to both misdemeanor charges.
Tapp was represented by public defender John Thomas, the same attorney who fought to get Tapp’s 1997 rape and murder conviction overturned.
Tapp was convicted of raping and murdering 18-year-old Angie Dodge at her Idaho Falls apartment. He confessed to Idaho Falls Police detectives that he had committed the crime, but serious questions were raised over the years that the confession was coerced or false. Numerous DNA samples left at the crime scene did not match Tapp’s.
In March, the rape charge was vacated as part of an agreement that allowed him to be released from prison with a completed sentence.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Thomas argued that Tapp was not a flight risk and thus should get a low bond of $2,500.
“Everybody knows who he is. It’s not like he can just blend in. This guy’s been on national TV over the course of the last several months,” Thomas said. “He is not somebody who’s going to be running and if he is running, we’re going to be able to find him really quickly, so I would ask for a very low bond.”
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michael McCracken disagreed with the low amount and asked for a $15,000 bond.
McCracken explained the alleged facts in the case are serious and justify a higher bond.
“Mr. Tapp was alleged to cause a domestic battery on the victim. In this case, he also would not allow her to call 911,” McCracken said of Monday’s incident. “For several minutes she was not allowed to call 911, (while) trying to leave to get away from Mr. Tapp, and he would not allow her to get away.”
The victim in this case is Stacy Tapp, Chris’s wife. Typically, EastIdahoNews.com does not identify the names of victims in domestic abuse cases. Stacy Tapp has repeatedly identified herself on the EastIdahoNews.com Facebook page and other public forums as the other person involved in the case. She claims the entire situation is a “misunderstanding” and law enforcement is out to get her husband.
McCracken said that during his time in jail, Chris Tapp had made 15 phone calls to Stacy Tapp. Law enforcement, who monitor the outgoing calls, told McCracken that Chris Tapp told his wife what to say when she was to meet with prosecuting attorneys.
“I think there are some very serious safety concerns here,” McCracken said. “The victim, in statements made to law enforcement, is scared to death of Mr. Tapp.”
Bonneville County Sheriff’s deputies say Tapp was arrested Monday afternoon after an argument with his wife turned physical.
During the incident, sheriff’s spokesman Bryan Lovell says, Stacy Tapp tried to get a cellphone to call police but was prevented from doing so by Tapp. Deputies also observed minor injuries to Stacy Tapp at the scene.
The judge ultimately settled on a bond of $7,500. If Tapp posts bond, he will be released to pretrial services.
Judge Steven Gardner issued an order that Tapp could have no contact with his wife until Oct. 17, 2019, or until the charges are dismissed.
Tapp is scheduled for another court hearing on Oct. 25.