How a Man Went From Pleading Innocence to Serving Time
Science freed Tapp from a wrongful conviction when the law didn’t.
This narrative begins on June 13, 1996, when 18-year old, Angie Dodge was brutally raped and murdered in her apartment in Idaho Falls. For a whole year, police struggled to find the culprit, fortunately, justice found a way.
On January 5, 1997, a local Idaho man, Benjamin Hobbs was arrested. However, police now had to build a case against Hobbs, and for that, they began to interview his friends — one of them was 20-year old Christopher Tapp. Tapp, who was also seen around Dodge, voluntarily agreed to undergo questioning, little did he know what was in store for him.
Tapp was interviewed multiple times, however, when the third time came around, he did not show up. Officers decided to show up at this house where Tapp’s mother informed them he would appear in two days with legal counsel. However, the police decided they couldn’t wait. After one more attempt at persuading Tapp’s mother to let him attend without a lawyer, police decided to get a warrant and arrest Tapp on charges related to accessory to a felony that very day on January 11.
After the arrest, officers called Tapp’s attorney, however before the attorney could arrive, officers began the interview specifically informing him of the type of information they wanted to get from him. He continued to express his innocence within the first few trials, however, that would only last so long. As the days went by Tapp’s story began to change multiple times. He went from pleading his innocence to implicating himself as one of the offenders — Tapp was now in a hole so deep, no one would be able to get him out.
On January 17, Tapp and the State had entered two immunity agreements that would require Tapp to provide truthful information to the officers regarding the investigation, and would also allow Tapp to only be “charged with and plead guilty to aiding and abetting an aggravated battery.” At this point, Tapp was claiming he was present when Hobbs raped and murdered…