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Ex-congressional candidate suspected in Strip killing turns himself in

Updated March 6, 2024 - 10:14 pm

A former congressional candidate and pro wrestler wanted in connection with a killing on the Strip last year was seen turning himself in at the Clark County Detention Center on Wednesday evening.

Daniel Rodimer was seen walking into the jail’s front entrance with his attorney, David Chesnoff, shortly before 6 p.m. He did not speak to reporters and shielded his face as he walked into the building.

An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for Rodimer, 45, in connection with the November death of Christopher Tapp, 47, the Metropolitan Police Department announced. Tapp is an Idaho man who spent two decades in prison after he was wrongfully convicted.

Voluntary surrender

“Mr. Rodimer is voluntarily surrendering to authorities and will post a court ordered bail,” Chesnoff and fellow attorney Richard Schonfeld wrote in an emailed statement. “He intends on vigorously contesting the allegations and asks that the presumption of innocence guaranteed all Americans be respected.”

Rodimer was “flying in to address the warrant,” the Las Vegas Justice Court docket read Wednesday afternoon.

Rodimer was seen going through the booking process at the jail on Wednesday. Court records indicate he has posted a surety bond on a $200,000 bail. He is set to appear in court April 10.

Rodimer’s apparent anger at Tapp was sparked after Tapp was alleged to have offered Rodimer’s stepdaughter cocaine, or other drugs, during a party in a Resorts World suite, according to Metro police documents, which cite witnesses.

A “visibly upset” Rodimer then went into a bathroom where Tapp was and was heard to say, “If you ever talk to my daughter again, I’ll f—-ing kill you,” according to the arrest documents.

Two loud banging noises were then heard. The witness told police Rodimer had punched Tapp.

About 20 to 30 minutes later, medical personnel arrived, and Tapp was taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.

‘Dan got really mad’

Another witness told police he arrived back at the room where the party was to see Tapp awake on the bed in the master bedroom but not speaking, with a swollen face and large mark on the left side of his neck, police documents say.

When the witness asked another person in the party what happened, he was told that Tapp had slipped and fell, which was different from texts that he had received from somebody else in the party, one of which said that “Dan got really mad and punch Chris.”

This witness said help was needed. Hotel emergency services workers arrived and determined that Tapp needed parademics. Tapp was then taken to the hospital.

Another witness said she saw Rodimer “knock Christopher to the ground, at which time Christopher’s head hit a small table.”

“Dan proceeded to punch Christopher throughout his head and body,” the police documents said, citing this witness, who described “Dan as the instigator and described that Christopher was not fighting back.”

The witness left the room “because she did not want to continue to witness what Dan was doing to Christopher because it was ‘disgusting,’” the documents said.

A person who was working as a security guard at Resorts World said he tried to talk with Tapp, who was lying on the bed after the incident. Tapp’s speech was slurred and he had difficulty answering questions.

Tapp, whose legal ordeal made headlines as it progressed from his initial arrest to his release, was convicted of rape and murder after the 1996 death of 18-year-old Angie Dodge. He spent 21 years behind bars before his release in 2017 and exoneration in 2019.

Rough campaign trail

Rodimer, a Republican who was endorsed by then-President Donald Trump in 2020, lost his bid for Nevada’s 3rd District that year to incumbent Rep. Susie Lee. In 2021, Rodimer then announced another congressional run, this time in a special election in Texas’ 6th District. He also lost that race.

In the 2020 race, Rodimer was “dogged on the campaign trail by old allegations stemming from bar fights and 911 calls made to police by his then-girlfriend alleging theft and domestic violence,” the Review-Journal reported.

He responded with an ad in which that former girlfriend, who would later become his wife, said there had been no violence in their household.

After the election loss, Rodimer sued, alleging voter fraud. The lawsuit was rejected by a Clark County judge.

The police documents outlining the allegations surrounding Tapp’s death include text messages between Rodimer and a woman identified only as Sarah. The police documents do not say whether Sarah and Rodimer’s conversation is about Tapp.

In the police documents, Sarah’s last name is redacted. Rodimer’s wife’s name is Sarah.

In the text conversation, from the afternoon of Oct. 30, hours after the Resorts World incident that would lead to Tapp’s death, Sarah questions Rodimer about child and spousal support and calls Rodimer a “monster.”

“I watched you nearly murder. Somebody and I had to take your f—-ing hands off from his neck as he laid there and you ran away, and I spent the next two hours trying to take care of him. Nobody should have to watch their husband murder somebody,” Sarah texted.

According to Metro and an autopsy report released by the Clark County coroner’s office, Tapp died from the effects of blunt force trauma to the head after a “physical altercation.”

He was pronounced dead at Sunrise hospital on Nov. 5.

In 2020, when Tapp had filed a lawsuit in federal court against the city of Idaho Falls, he told a newspaper there that he was hoping for a new start.

“I’m hoping that this nightmare will come to an end,” Tapp said at the time. “I’ve been living it for the last 23 years of my life.”

In 2021, another Idaho man, Brian Leigh Dripps, pleaded guilty to Dodge’s rape and murder.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, the city of Idaho Falls agreed to a $11.7 million settlement with Tapp.

The initial summary of investigation listed on Tapp’s autopsy report states Tapp “suffered an unwitnessed fall and was down approximately one hour until friends found him and called 911.”

And police said in a news release that medical personnel responded on Oct. 29 to a call for service for a man, later identified as Tapp, “suffering from injuries as a result of a purported accident.”

But the initial possibility that Tapp’s death had been accidental would later change, with further “investigative circumstances” relayed to Metro police in November and witness statements given to investigators on Dec. 11, the autopsy report said.

“The interview describes Mr. Tapp in a physical altercation with another individual … directly resulting in Mr. Tapp’s head trauma,” the autopsy report said.

Tapp was given a “poor prognosis” after he arrived at the hospital, the report said.

“Radiology found multiple brain bleeds,” the report said, and Tapp’s toxicology was also positive for cocaine, alcohol and marijuana.

On Jan. 2, the coroner’s office ruled the death a homicide.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com. Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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