The 1996 rape and murder of 18-year-old Angie Dodge led to the conviction of a man who spent two decades in prison for the crime, but authorities now say someone else was responsible for the brutal attack, the Idaho Statesman reports.
Police this week arrested 53-year-old Brian Leigh Dripps Sr. for first-degree murder, officials from the Idaho Falls Police Department said Thursday.
Police Chief Bryce Johnson said investigators used genetic genealogy technology to identify Dripps based on DNA material left at the crime scene. Dripps later confessed to raping and murdering Dodge in an interview with officers.
Dodge’s body was discovered in her Idaho Falls apartment on the morning of June 13, 1996. Police believe the killer raped her before slitting her throat.
Dripps had lived across the street from Dodge at the time of the attack, but he wasn’t the first person authorities suspected of the crime. A different man, Christopher Trapp, spent 20 years behind bars for Dodge’s rape and murder. His lawyers argued he gave a coerced confession and his rape conviction was later overturned, although the murder conviction was not.
Johnson told the news media Thursday that he would not comment as to whether another assailant may have been involved, but said that information would be disclosed later.
“Today is about Angie,” Johnson said. “That’s what we’re focused on today.”
Dripps did not have a police record at the time of the rape and murder, although he has had multiple misdemeanor charges in the intervening years.
Police say Dripps will also be charged with rape. He faces up to life in prison if convicted on both counts.
[Feature Photo: Brian Leigh Dripps Sr./Canyon County Sheriff’s Office; Angie Dodge/GoFundMe]