Prosecutors work out deal to release man convicted in 1996
Mar. 21, 2017
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho man is expected to be released from prison after spending nearly half his life in a cell.
Attorneys for both the defense and the prosecution confirmed Monday that they have reached a deal that would release Chris Tapp from prison on Wednesday, The Post Register reported (http://bit.ly/2mLOuYu). Judge Alan Stephens must approve the deal.
"Chris Tapp has entered into a negotiated deal with the prosecuting attorney wherein he'll give up his right to post-conviction proceedings, and if the judge accepts the deal, he will be a free man on Wednesday," said Public Defender John Thomas, Tapp's attorney in several post-conviction relief actions.
Tapp is currently in prison for the rape and murder of 18-year-old Angie Dodge. He was convicted after he confessed to the crime. New DNA testing shows that none of Tapp's DNA matches the genetic samples taken from Dodge's body.
As part of the deal, Thomas said Tapp won't admit guilt, but he also won't have his conviction vacated.
Judges for Justice, the Center for Wrongful Convictions, the Idaho Innocence Project and the New York Innocence Project all worked to overturn Tapp's conviction.
For those close to the case, such as Carol Dodge, Angie's mother, and Vera Tapp, Tapp's mother, the news of the possible release is great, but not without a catch.
"I think the prosecutor could drop the murder charge, because Christopher had nothing to do with murdering Angie Dodge," Vera Tapp said. "He will still be convicted as a murderer, and he won't be able to find a job with that on his record."
Carol Dodge said she's upset about the deal.
"Chris spent 20 years of his life convicted on a lie, and now he's being released to live the rest of his life as a lie because people who have power can justify this," Dodge said. "They could care less what happens to Chris. All they cared about was having no liability."
Information from: Post Register, http://www.postregister.com