IDAHO FALLS — The sentencing hearing for the man accused of raping and killing Angie Dodge has been postponed due to COVID-19 at the Bonneville County Jail.
Brian Dripps, 55, was scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday morning after pleading guilty to first-degree murder and rape charges in February. His attorney, Jim Archibald, tells EastIdahoNews.com that inmates in Dripps’ jail pod were exposed to COVID-19. Dripps tested negative and has been vaccinated, but an order from the Idaho Supreme Court mandates that those exposed to COVID should not enter courthouses.
Because Dripps could receive a life sentence, the hearing cannot be held via Zoom and must happen in person. A new date had not been scheduled as of 4 p.m. Monday.
As part of the plea agreement reached in February, attorneys recommended Dripps spend 20 years to life in prison. The plea agreement is binding, meaning District Judge Joel Tingey will have to follow the recommendations. If not, Dripps could withdraw his plea and take the case to a jury trial.
Dodge was murdered on June 13, 1996, in her I Street apartment. Chris Tapp, then 20 years old, was named as the suspect after what legal experts later called coerced confessions and was behind bars for nearly two decades before he was released and exonerated.
Nearly 23 years after Dodge’s death, DNA researchers determined Dripps was most likely the suspect in the case. At the time of the murder and rape, Dripps lived across the street from Dodge.
Investigators took Dripps into custody on May 15, 2019, and during questioning, he confessed to raping killing Dodge 23 years earlier. He was arrested and booked into the Canyon County Jail before authorities brought him to Idaho Falls. He has been in the Bonneville County Jail since that time.