weather icon Mostly Clear

Ex-congressional candidate pleads not guilty to murder charge

Updated May 8, 2024 - 9:18 pm

A former Nevada congressional candidate pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a murder charge in connection with the death of an Idaho man he is accused of fatally injuring in a Strip hotel room.

Late last month, a grand jury indicted Daniel Rodimer, 45, a former pro wrestler who ran for Nevada’s 3rd congressional district in 2020. He is accused of attacking Christopher Tapp during a party at Resorts World in October.

Tapp, 47, had spent two decades in Idaho prison for a 1996 murder he didn’t commit. He was released in 2017, exonerated in 2019 and won a $11.7 million settlement in 2022 against the city of Idaho Falls.

Rodimer is accused of attacking Tapp after he became angry that Tapp allegedly offered his stepdaughter cocaine during the party at Resorts World, according to an arrest report.

Tapp was taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, where he died on Nov. 5 of blunt head trauma. The Clark County coroner’s office ruled his death a homicide.

“How do you plead, guilty or not guilty?” District Judge Tierra Jones asked Rodimer during a court hearing on Wednesday.

“Not guilty,” he replied.

A day after he was charged with a murder count, Rodimer turned himself in to Las Vegas police on March 5. He was released hours later after posting a $200,000 bail, and he has remained out of custody since.

Attorney David Chesnoff, one of the lawyers representing Rodimer, said the defense plans to file documents challenging the grand jury’s indictment.

Chesnoff said Rodimer “vigorously denies any responsibility for the allegations.”

Attorney John Thomas, who served as Tapp’s public defender in Idaho and has attended court hearings with Tapp’s family, said that the defense’s plan to challenge the indictment is a “pretty standard” legal process.

“It’s standard. I don’t see that there’s any real concern here,” Thomas said after Wednesday’s hearing.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.