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Wrongfully convicted Idaho man’s Las Vegas death now a homicide probe

Updated January 10, 2024 - 6:04 pm

The November death in Las Vegas of a 47-year-old Idaho man who spent two decades in prison after he was wrongfully convicted is being investigated as a homicide, the Metropolitan Police Department announced Wednesday.

According to police, the Clark County coroner’s office ruled that Christopher Tapp died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Tapp was convicted of rape and murder after the 1996 death of 18-year-old Angie Dodge and spent 21 years behind bars before his release in 2017 and exoneration in 2019.

Police in Las Vegas said they were made aware on Nov. 22 of a suspicious death after an Oct. 29 response in the 3000 block of Las Vegas Boulevard South.

They said Wednesday that emergency crews had responded on Oct. 29 to a call for service about a man, later identified as Tapp, suffering from injuries from a purported accident.

Tapp was hospitalized and died on Nov. 5.

Homicide detectives investigated and learned that Tapp had been in an “altercation inside a room at a resort” before he was taken to the hospital.

“This is still an ongoing investigation,” a Metro spokesperson wrote in an email in response to a question about whether police believe Tapp’s death has anything to do with his legal ordeal in Idaho.

After Tapp filed a lawsuit in federal court against the city of Idaho Falls in 2020, he told the Idaho Falls-based Post Register newspaper 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.

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

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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