IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Seventh District Judge Joel E. Tingey ruled Wednesday that a convicted Idaho Falls murderer failed to prove that he was in police custody during the interview when he incriminated himself in the 1996 Angie Dodge homicide.
The court dismissed Christopher Tapp's motion for post-conviction relief in its entirety.
Tingey's decision comes as a result of an evidentiary hearing held in February.
Tapp confessed to the murder of Dodge at her I Street apartment during a confession taped Jan. 29, 1997.
The defense wanted to establish Tapp was in custody at the time of the confession and without legal representation.
The evidentiary hearing involved a number of law enforcement officials, including Idaho Falls Mayor Jared Fuhriman, who was a detective at the time.
Tapp had repeatedly said in the evidentiary hearing that he believed he was going to jail during the interrogation.
"I was told right then and there I lied to police. They were going to pull the immunity agreement I had with police," Tapp said in the hearing.
He testified he was led to an interrogation room, where he, his lawyer, Fuhriman and former Prosecutor Kip Manwaring confirmed a previously-granted immunity deal was void. He then testified his lawyer left.
Tapp said he then believed he was going to jail unless he gave police what he calls "what they wanted," the name of another man believed present at the crime scene. In its place, he had said, he confessed to what police wanted to hear.
During the hearing, Bonneville County Prosecutor Bruce Pickett read several excerpts of testimony from an addendum to a sworn affidavit signed by Tapp in 2002, which appeared to contradict his current version of events.
“We’re satisfied with the judge’s ruling,” Pickett said in a news release from the Idaho Falls Police Department on Wednesday. “We hope this is able to close a chapter for the people affected by this tragedy.”