An Innocent Man Went to Prison for Murder. Now, It’s the Real Killer’s Turn.
An Idaho man was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison for the rape and murder of an 18-year-old woman in 1996, a crime for which another man was wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for 20 years.
The real perpetrator, Brian Leigh Dripps Sr., in the killing of Angie Dodge of Idaho Falls, Idaho, emerged after her mother sought to have investigators take another look at the case, which changed course as a result of advances in DNA analysis and the use of genetic genealogy.
That evidence connected Mr. Dripps to the crime, not Christopher Tapp, the innocent man who was originally convicted in Ms. Dodge’s killing. Legal advocates said that the police in Idaho Falls had coerced him into confessing to the crime. Mr. Tapp was exonerated in July 2019 after serving 20 years in prison.
Mr. Dripps, 55, ultimately confessed to killing Ms. Dodge, though he said he had intended only to rape her. He pleaded guilty in February to first-degree murder and rape. Under the terms of a plea agreement, he must serve at least 20 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.