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Almost 25 years to the day after Angie Dodge’s rape and murder in Idaho Falls, her killer knows his fate.
Brian Dripps, a 55-year-old former Caldwell resident, was sentenced Tuesday to up to life in prison for the crimes. He must serve at least 20 years before he is eligible for parole.
Dodge was 18 when she was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death in her Idaho Falls apartment in June 1996. Dripps’ arrest did not come until 2019, after a wrongfully convicted man, Christopher Tapp, spent 20 years in prison. DNA evidence collected from the crime scene was tested in 2016 and showed Tapp’s genetic material wasn’t present. He was released from prison in 2017 on a deal with prosecutors and then exonerated in July 2019.
Dripps’ arrest came after Idaho Falls police found that his DNA sample matched evidence taken from the murder scene. In October 2019, prosecutors announced their intent to seek the death penalty against Dripps.
Dripps appeared in a Bonneville County courtroom for Tuesday’s hearing just months after he pleaded guilty to the crimes as part of a plea deal. In return for pleading guilty to first-degree murder and rape, prosecutors dropped their pursuit of the death penalty and requested that Dripps spend the rest of his life in prison.
During the Tuesday hearing, which was broadcast live by EastIdahoNews.com, Judge Joel Tingey followed the recommendation in the plea agreement.
Tingey told the court that this was not a typical case, as Dripps remained free while another man was charged and convicted.
“A young man spent a significant part of his life in prison for no good reason. He was innocent. That falls on you,” Tingey said.
Dripps was to be transferred to the Idaho Department of Correction to begin his prison sentence. He apologized in court to Dodge’s family members.
“I am sorry. I didn’t intend for this to happen,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “Wish we could have a chance at a do-over, because I would do over that day … I know you’ll never forgive me, but I am sorry.”
Angie Dodge’s brothers, Todd and Roger Dodge, both spoke to the court. Todd Dodge said Dripps “dropped an atomic bomb in the center of our family and our community.”