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‘I will kill you’: Witness tells grand jury Rodimer threatened, attacked alleged victim

The ex-congressional candidate was dressed as Ken from the “Barbie” movie. He was allegedly on top of Christopher Tapp, punching him.

This is what a woman alleged she saw at a Halloween party at an exclusive Resorts World suite — an ill-fated gathering that authorities said would lead to the Nov. 5 death of Tapp, 47, an Idaho man who had spent over two decades in prison for a murder he did not commit.

Former Republican Nevada congressional candidate Daniel Rodimer, 45, is now facing a murder charge.

The woman, identified in grand jury transcripts as Dani Lyons, testified before a District Court grand jury on April 18.

Grand jury transcripts also include testimony from a medical examiner at the Clark County coroner’s office, a security worker at Resorts World and a Metropolitan Police Department homicide detective.

Their testimony adds new perspectives to the recounting of the events of the party, which started on the night of Oct. 29 and lasted until early on Oct. 30.

Rodimer was indicted last month in connection with Tapp’s death, with prosecutors alleging that the former Republican candidate for the House of Representatives hit Tapp on the head and that the killing was “willful, deliberate and premeditated.”

“Mr. Rodimer vigorously denies the accusations contained in the indictment,” said his attorney, David Chesnoff, on Wednesday. Chesnoff is representing Rodimer with his law partner attorney Richard A. Schonfeld.

Lyons alleged that she saw Rodimer “attacking” Tapp.

Lyons said she and her boyfriend were invited to the party by Bella Duffy, whom Lyons identified as the biological daughter of Sarah Rodimer.

Sarah Rodimer, who was dressed as Barbie at the party, is the wife of Daniel Rodimer, and Daniel Rodimer is Bella Duffy’s stepdad, Lyons testified.

Rodimer ‘very upset’

Lyons testified that she did cocaine at the party while with Duffy and another acquaintance she knew only as Tara, according to the transcripts.

Lyons said ingesting the drug that night did not prevent her from being able to see what happened.

According to her testimony, while the three of them were in the bathroom of the master bedroom of the suite, Tapp walked in and introduced himself and took out his own bag of cocaine, did a so-called “bump” of cocaine, meaning a small amount, and started telling them about his story.

Daniel Rodimer then came into the bathroom and became “very upset” because he saw a rolled-up $100 bill on a table.

“I very vividly remember him saying if you give my daughter any of that I will f—-ing kill you,” Lyons testified.

Sarah Rodimer entered the bathroom and was telling her husband to calm down and to not cause a scene before escorting him out of there, Lyons said.

Lyons said she, Duffy and Tara were “definitely shook up” and that they left the bathroom.

Lyons then said they saw Daniel Rodimer run back into the master bedroom, where Tapp had remained. Lyon testified that she heard thumping and loud banging noises. When she got to the doorway of the master bedroom, she said, she saw Rodimer tackle Tapp.

“I immediately saw Dan tackle Mr. Tapp to the floor. It was very fast. And as he fell I saw him hit his head on that small circular table,” Lyons testified, according to the transcripts.

Lyons said Rodimer “definitely threw a couple of punches once he was on the floor” and Tapp didn’t do anything, but “just took it.” She also said that Rodimer was choking Tapp “a little bit” and replied “yes” when she was asked if she saw Rodimer put his hands around Tapp’s neck.

Lyons said Sarah Rodimer was in the room as well and that she believed two or three other men were in the room, but she didn’t remember who they were, and that Sarah and possibly the other men had been trying to break up the dispute.

Rodimer then “disappeared” from the party, Lyons said.

She also alleged Sarah Rodimer later told her to not talk about the incident.

“She said if anyone asks you about it, law enforcement wise, to say you didn’t see anything. She said you don’t want to get involved in this,” Lyons said.

Efforts to reach Sarah Rodimer and Lyons for comment were unsuccessful.

‘He was unconscious’

Metro homicide detective David Westhead testified that a social media promotion for the party mentioned John Odom, and Odom Racing, and listed Christopher Tapp as a sponsor of the party. Lyons testified that it was Odom’s event and his suite. Odom Racing’s website lists Odom as the team’s driver and owner.

Tapp, after his release from prison and exoneration, had agreed to a settlement of $11.7 million with the city of Idaho Falls in 2022.

Dustin Hanor, a security assistant manager at Resorts World, testified that he and another security worker were dispatched by the hotel’s security operations center to the suite after reports that one of the guests in the room had slipped and fell, according to the transcripts.

A man he knew only by the last name Odom answered the door, allowed them in and took them to where Tapp was lying on a bed in the master bedroom.

“Mr. Tapp was unable to answer basic questions. He was conscious. He was able to look at us but he was not able to respond to us and when we asked him what his name was, if he required medical attention, et cetera, et cetera,” Hanor said, according to the transcripts.

Hanor said Tapp had a bruise on the right side of his jaw and a circular red bruise on the very top back of his head. Hanor also said Tapp had markings on his left neck area.

Odom told Hanor and his colleague that he had been in the kitchen, which was a separate room, when Tapp slipped on a pair of slippers between a metal end table and a couch, Hanor testified.

The security workers called for medical assistance.

Hanor testified that Odom told him he had heard Tapp cry for help, and after Odom arrived to the master bedroom, he found Tapp unconscious. Hanor testified that Odom said he had waited about 30 minutes to an hour to contact Resorts World security for medical assistance.

Hanor said they weren’t able to find the slippers.

Tapp was taken away in an ambulance and died Nov. 5 at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, according to the coroner’s office. His death was initially reported as the result of a slip and fall.

Efforts to reach Odom for comment were unsuccessful.

In her testimony, Stephanie Yagi, a medical examiner with the Clark County coroner’s office, said she had determined that Tapp had died of blunt head trauma after conducting not an autopsy, but an external medical examination, where the outside of the body is examined.

Yagi testified that this was done, instead of an autopsy where the body is opened up and examined internally, because Tapp’s death was reported as having been accidental.

Homicide detectives began investigating nearly three weeks after Tapp died after his family and friends contacted police to say that Tapp’s death seemed suspicious, Westhead testified, according to the transcripts.

Authorities have said that Sarah Rodimer had texted her husband in the hours after the alleged attack, writing that she had “watched you nearly” murder someone and that he was “going to be in prison for attempted murder.”

Chesnoff indicated he would rather respond in court.

“The only response I’ll make is the beauty of the American jury system is that you get to cross examine people,” Chesnoff said.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com.

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