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Judge says Brian Dripps must stay in jail

Crime Watch

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IDAHO FALLS — A judge says that Brian Dripps must stay in jail without bail to await his 2021 trial.

Last week, Dripps attorneys Jim Archibald and Elisa Massoth asked District Judge Joel Tingey to release the 54-year-old man because of health concerns over COVID-19. On Wednesday, Tingey signed the order keeping the man charged with first-degree murder and rape behind bars.

On May 15, 2019, the Idaho Falls Police Department arrested Dripps in Caldwell after they say his DNA matched that left at the scene of the 1996 rape and killing of Angie Dodge. Police said that Dripps also confessed to the crime with specific details when interrogated.

RELATED | Defense for Brian Dripps asks he be released from jail because of COVID-19

Archibald and Massoth wanted Tingey to place Dripps on house arrest at his mother’s home in Caldwell. They said his health conditions placed him at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19. Their request came after nearly inmate in a Bonneville County Jail pod tested positive for COVID-19. Dripps is not housed in that pod.

The Idaho Office of Attorney General, which serves as the special prosecutor on the case, objected to the release of Dripps. Deputy Attorney General Kristina Schindele said in her objection that Dripps is not entitled to bail or release because of the seriousness of the allegation.

Angie Dodge | Courtesy Photo

While Tingey sided with the state in keeping Dripps in jail, he did authorize a hearing to be pushed back regarding suppression of the reported confession. Archibald and Massoth argue that Dripps’ rights were violated, including having him read and sign his Miranda Rights rather than having them read aloud.

The motion to suppress hearing is now scheduled for Dec. 1 at the Bonneville County Courthouse with a status conference happening on Nov. 4.

A jury trial is scheduled to begin on June 8. It will likely be moved to another jurisdiction following concerns of potential jury bias in eastern Idaho.

The discussion on changing venue will happen at a hearing over Zoom on Sept. 30.