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Mother seeks closure of daughter's murder case
11 years ago

All I have ever wanted is the truth and closure. I want to know how my daughter died, who was there, why it happened. It is distressing to watch convicted rapist & murderer Christoper Tapp try to convince the justice system that he is innocent, and frustrating that Tapp has refused to give up any significant information about others involved in crimes. — Carol Dodge IDAHO FALLS - A bright yellow crocus breaks through the earth in an east-facing garden. Soft green grass appears on a neighbor's lawn. Flocks of geese and ducks fill the sky over the Snake River with their raucous cries. Every day, another sign of spring brings joy to the people of this Idaho community who experienced a long, cold, winter this year. But since the spring of 1997, Idaho Falls resident Carol Dodge has not greeted spring like most other city residents who start making plans for a fun summer in this beautiful area of America. Every spring marks another year that the brutal rape and murder of her daughter, Angie Raye Dodge, remains unsolved. And while people flock to the greenbelt to walk the trails along the river, Dodge goes there to remember her daughter. A marker is there to honor Angie and remind others that the community has numerous unsolved murders and missing people. Each brings daily heartbreak to the victims' loved ones. Each makes the community feel unsettled and unsafe. Angie Raye Dodge was a beautiful young woman, with bright blue eyes, blonde hair, and a vibrant personality. She graduated from Idaho Falls High School with the class of 1995. In high school she participated in track, honor society, and the Renaissance Club, an organization honoring academic achievers. Her friends describe her as upbeat, outgoing, likable, and caring. Her life, so full of promise and potential, was snuffed out by evil when she was raped and murdered in her Idaho Falls apartment on I Street, not far from the greenbelt, early in the morning of June 13, 1996. She was 18 years old. This week, Carol Dodge is already wondering how she will handle the 12th anniversary of her daughter's death, now less than three months away. It's as raw a hurt today as it was the day she was told about the murder, especially so because the one person convicted of the rape and murder is now claiming he was unjustly convicted and is asking for a new trial. Christopher Tapp is serving a life sentence for the crimes, but claims in a civil suit that his attorney did not adequately represent him. Bonneville County Prosecutor Bruce Pickett wants Tapp's case dismissed. At a March 19 hearing, 7th District Judge Joel Tingey gave Tapp's attorney, John Stosich of Idaho Falls, 15 days to present evidence against granting 's Pickett's request. Pickett will then have seven days to refute Stosich's arguments, and then Judge Tingey can take up to 30 days to make a decision. In a detailed, graphic, videotaped confession in January 1997, Tapp told police investigators he held Angie down while a man named Benjamin Hobbs and a person he knew only as "Mike," raped her. Tapp told detective Jared Fuhriman, now the mayor of Idaho Falls, that Hobbs forced him to stab Angie. He also testified that Hobbs slit the young woman's throat. Angie's neck was nearly severed from her body. DNA evidence has not been linked to Hobbs, so Tapp was the only person charged in the crimes. District Judge Ted Wood sentenced him to 30 years to life in prison. Carol Dodge said it was "extremely difficult" to see Tapp in court last week. She said it is distressing to watch Tapp try to convince the justice system that he is innocent, and frustrating that Tapp has refused to give up any significant information about others involved in the rape and murder. Dodge notes that it is unfortunate that convicted rapists and murderers like Tapp can sit in prison year after year and talk themselves out of taking responsibility for their actions and attempt to convince others of their innocence. It is hard on the legal system and horribly tough on the victims families. "All I have ever wanted is the truth and closure," she says. "I want to know how my daughter died, who was there, why it happened." This is the second time the prosecutor's office has filed a motion to dismiss Tapp's civil case. Tingey granted Pickett's earlier motion to dismiss on seven points. But he ruled that there is validity to Stosich's argument that the jury might not have gotten an accurate picture of Tapp's mental condition, and that Tapp's lawyer failed to allow Tapp to testify and didn't introduce evidence of a learning disability Tapp may have. Pickett argued that the videotapes show that Tapp was aware of the seriousness of the charges he was facing, and knew his rights. Dodge says Tapp describes the murder and rape in horrific detail, so much so that any claims that he was repeating anything he had heard from another person cannot be true. Tingey could rule that Tapp received a fair trial and sentence. If he rules there was a problem with the sentence, another hearing would be scheduled. If he rules that Tapp didn't receive a fair trial, Tapp's conviction would be vacated. The state would then have to decide whether or not to bring new charges against him. Dodge says it's agonizing to think that Tapp would ever be set free. But that's just one of many aspects of the case that haunt her constantly. An even bigger problem for Dodge is the lack of regional and national exposure the case has had from day one. Today, television is awash with shows hosted by personalities like Nancy Grace, Geraldo, Oprah, and Greta Van Susteren, and news specials that reenact unsolved cases, and give enormous attention to unsolved murders and missing persons cases. Sometimes this leads to arrests, convictions, and to finding lost people - to the closure Dodge so p

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