Who killed Christopher Tapp?  An innocent Idaho man who spent 20 years in prison for the rape and murder of Angie Dodge before being killed in a shocking shooting in Vegas.

Who killed Christopher Tapp? An innocent Idaho man who spent 20 years in prison for the rape and murder of Angie Dodge before being killed in a shocking shooting in Vegas.


An innocent Idaho man who spent 20 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit was mysteriously killed a month after appearing on Dateline NBC to talk about his wrongful conviction.

Christopher Tapp was just 21 years old when he was sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of his friend Angie Dodge in 1996, when she was 18. He was released in 2017 after Project Innocence of Idaho intervened.

The real killer, Brian Dripps, Sr., 55, confessed to the murder and pleaded guilty in 2021 and was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years and up to life in prison.

But after an exclusive September 2023 interview with Dateline, Tapp, then 47, died in a Las Vegas hotel room. He died of blunt force trauma and in January, his death was ruled a homicide.

On Dateline NBC’s ‘True Confession,’ airing Friday, Tapp tells host Keith Morrison: ‘I’m just trying to be the best person I can be – to blend those two people together. The relative who was in prison and the one who preceded him in prison.’

‘We all make mistakes, good or bad. We may do things right or wrong, but I’m just trying to be the best person I can be.’

Morrison asked Tapp, though he had moved on, ‘if he was still a little angry inside.’

‘Of course I will be. These people stole my life for 20 years,’ he said during the sit down. ‘I will always be mad. I will always have a little tension and resentment because of what these people did to me.’

Christopher Tapp, 47, was just 21 when he was sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of his friend Angie Dodd in 1996, when she was 18, but was released in 2017 after of the Idaho Innocence Project to prove his innocence.

The real killer, Brian Dripps, Sr.  in Dodd's murder pleaded guilty to murder and pleaded guilty in 2021. He is pictured in the Bonneville County Courthouse on February 9, 2021.

The real killer, Brian Dripps, Sr. in Dodd’s murder he pleaded guilty to murder and pleaded guilty in 2021. He is pictured in the Bonneville County Courthouse on February 9, 2021.

Angie Dodge was 18 years old when she was raped and stabbed to death in her home in Idaho Falls on June 13, 1996.

Angie Dodge was 18 years old when she was raped and stabbed to death in her home in Idaho Falls on June 13, 1996.

Tapp told Morrison: ‘I wish I could say I’ve moved on and I’ve moved on because again look at all these things I’ve been able to accomplish since the acquittal and the restitution bill here in Idaho and Oregon.

“I’ve helped across the country pass bills to help people who have been wrongfully convicted.”

NBC’s Date has been following the case for decades, providing viewers with in-depth coverage.

His latest two-hour broadcast scheduled to air Friday, February 23 at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. CT) will include new interviews with investigators, other suspects, members of the Dodge family, and key figures including lead detective Bill Squires, who now he is retiree, and Jeremy Sargis, a friend whom Tapp falsely accused of being involved.

Additional interviews include Steven Drizin, the forensics expert who worked to free Tapp, and CeCe Moore, the forensic genealogist who led police to the real killer.

Real Killer: Brian Dripps, Sr., 55 confessed to killing 18-year-old Dodge and pleaded guilty in 2021.

Real Killer: Brian Dripps, Sr., 55 confessed to killing 18-year-old Dodge and pleaded guilty in 2021.

On Thursday, the Las Vegas Police Department told DailyMail.com the homicide investigation is ongoing, and there are no new developments at this time.

Angie Dodge was raped and stabbed to death in a house she had recently moved into in Idaho Falls in June 1996.

The young woman’s body was found by her colleagues who went to see her.

Investigators were able to obtain DNA samples from hair, skin cells and body fluids at the scene.

Tapp was interviewed nine times and underwent seven polygraph tests, which he was told failed and as a result he could face the death penalty.

He was convicted after a jury heard what experts would later say was a false confession under duress, and found guilty. although his DNA did not match the evidence found at the crime scene.

On March 22, 2017, Tapp was released, after serving 20 years of a 30-year sentence, following a plea deal with prosecutors.

A judge overturned his rape conviction and re-sentenced him to time served for Dodge’s 1996 murder.

Christopher Tapp, pictured right, with his public defender John Thomas during Tapp's parole hearing at the Bonneville District Court in Idaho Falls on March 22, 2017.

Christopher Tapp, pictured right, with his public defender John Thomas during Tapp’s parole hearing at the Bonneville District Court in Idaho Falls on March 22, 2017.

Christopher Tapp, right, and Jeremy Sargis, who was also previously implicated in the crime but had his charges dismissed, embrace during Tapp's parole hearing at the Bonneville District Court in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Christopher Tapp, right, and Jeremy Sargis, who was also previously implicated in the crime but had his charges dismissed, embrace during Tapp’s parole hearing at the Bonneville District Court in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Tapp is pictured hugging his lawyer in the courtroom after being acquitted

Tapp is pictured hugging his lawyer in the courtroom after being acquitted

Christopher Tapp celebrates after his parole hearing at the Bonneville District Court in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Tapp, who experts say was forced to confess to murder, is now free after serving half a life sentence his in prison.

Christopher Tapp celebrates after his parole hearing at the Bonneville District Court in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Tapp, who experts say was forced to confess to murder, is now free after serving half a life sentence his in prison.

His conviction was overturned using pioneering DNA technology, a technique called ‘genetic genealogy.’

That method requires making a DNA match with a distant relative, which in Tapp’s case, led police to Dripps, Dodge’s neighbor who lived across the street.

The database is taken from websites that collect users’ DNA samples and allow them to find relatives online by sending their results and generating a list.

Police used a database of genetic profiles collected from websites such as 23 and Me and Ancestry, where people submit DNA samples to trace their roots.

The technique has been used to implicate suspects in previous crimes, but this is the first time it has been used to exonerate someone who was already incarcerated.

Christopher Tapp pictured after his release with the media surrounding him

Christopher Tapp pictured after his release with the media surrounding him

Tapp was convicted in 1998, based only on a confession that he later retracted. The court agreed to release him from prison in 2017, but the charges were not dropped.

On July 17, 2019, he was acquitted of murder.

Judge Alan Stephens said, ‘on the part of the court, you have been acquitted of the charges that you have been living under for 20 years and more,’ according to The project of innocence.

Bonneville District Attorney Danny Clark, who previously said Tapp was involved in Dodge’s death, joined the new motion to dismiss the murder charge.

After being discharged Tapp said, ‘I am grateful that I have been given this second chance at life. ‘I’ve wasted 20 years of my life for something I never did, but I also grew over those 20 years.’

He added: ‘It’s a new life, a new start, a new world for me, and I’m going to enjoy every day.’

In December 2019, he filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking damages from the city of Idaho Falls.