IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - The man convicted 15 years ago for the 1996 murder of Idaho Falls woman Angie Dodge wants his confession thrown out.
Christopher Tapp, 35, was in the Bonneville County Courthouse on Tuesday. Tapp is represented by Bonneville County public defender John Thomas, who was joined at the defense table by counsel from the Idaho Innocence Project..
In a case like this, the burden of proof rests on the defense, and on Tuesday Thomas was trying to establish Tapp was in custody at the time of his confession on Jan. 29, 1997.
Tapp confessed to the 1996 murder of Dodge at her I Street apartment during a taped confession entered into evidence in its entirety Tuesday.
The defense wanted to establish Tapp was in custody at the time of the confession and without legal representation. On Tuesday, Thomas argued to enter the videotape showing a more than two-hour interrogation of Tapp by then-detective Jared Fuhriman, who is now mayor of Idaho Falls into evidence in its entirety.
Judge Joel Tingey ruled to admit the tape conditionally, and prosecutor Bruce Pickett frequently objected to the playing of the tape on grounds of relevance. The only thing at issue was whether or not Tapp was in custody at the time. Still, Thomas paused the tape to ask Tapp several times what his mindset was at the time.
Tapp repeatedly said in court on Tuesday that he believed he was going to jail during the interrogation on Jan 29, 1997.
"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.
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 said, he confessed to what police wanted to hear.
He said he was, "trying to do anything I can to save myself."
"I was scared," he said.
When Thomas asked, "Why?" he responded, "I was going to jail."
There was mostly questioning by Tapp?s defense Tuesday, and the case is ongoing.
There was about an hour of cross-examination by Pickett toward the end of the day. Picket read several excerpts of testimony from an addendum to a sworn affidavit signed by Tapp in 2002. During the questioning, Pickett cited several passages in which Tapp described the moments leading up to him entering the Bonneville County Law Enforcement Building on Jan. 29, 1997.
He pointed out numerous instances in which testimony on Tuesday did not align or was contradictory to sworn statements in the affidavit.
Tapp admitted a large portion of the 2002 affidavit was false. He said his memory had become clearer, and testimony given on Tuesday was the truth.
Visit this page for further details as they become available.