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Former GOP congressional candidate and pro wrestler accused of murder in Las Vegas

Daniel Rodimer, a former pro wrestler who lost a bid for a Nevada congressional seat a few years ago, has now turned himself in to police on an open murder charge in Las Vegas.

On October 29, Rodimer, 45, and his stepdaughter attended a Halloween party at Resorts World on the Las Vegas Strip. Other high-profile attendees included a Formula 1 driver, some social media influencers, and 47-year-old Christopher Tapp, an acquaintance of Rodimer who had recently been exonerated after serving 20 years for a murder up in Idaho.

The party included a designated “fun room” where party-goers could go to bump lines of cocaine, but “rules” were put in place to keep Rodimer’s stepdaughter away from it, witnesses said. Despite these “rules,” Tapp may have offered the girl some of the drug, sending Rodimer into a rage.

“If you ever talk to my daughter again, I’ll [expletive] kill you,” Rodimer reportedly screamed.

Though others at the party attempted to calm Rodimer down, he allegedly ran back into the “fun room” and proceeded to attack Tapp, punching him so hard that he eventually fell and hit his head on a table. Other witnesses recalled hearing “two loud banging noises” shortly after Rodimer confronted Tapp.

First responders quickly whisked Tapp off to a nearby hospital, where he lingered on life support for several days before passing away on November 5. A coroner later determined that he had alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana in his system as well as several brain bleeds but had died from blunt force trauma. The coroner ruled Tapp’s death a homicide.

Text messages released to the public indicate that the day after the incident, Rodimer’s wife, Sarah Rodimer, wrote that she had watched her husband “nearly murder somebody.” “I had to take your [expletive] hands off from his neck as he laid there and you ran away and I spent the next two hours trying to take care of him,” she added.

“I watched you murder somebody like let that sink in your [sic] psychopath,” she reportedly wrote in a separate message.

This week, a warrant was issued for Rodimer’s arrest on a charge of open murder, which in Nevada means prosecutors have not yet determined the degree of murder involved. Rodimer then turned himself in at the Clark County Detention Center and left after posting the $200,000 bail. He is expected to be back in court in April.

His attorneys, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, issued a statement, noting that Rodimer “voluntarily” surrendered to police and claiming that he “intends on vigorously contesting the allegations.” He also “asks that the presumption of innocence guaranteed all Americans be respected,” the statement said.

Originally from New Jersey, Rodimer first became a familiar face in 2004, when he won the WWE Tough Enough contest. He then made regular appearances on “WWE Raw” and also spent a few seasons in the Arena Football League.

In 2020, Rodimer ran as a Republican for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District seat and even secured then-President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Rodimer lost the race to Democrat incumbent Rep. Susie Lee by 13,000 votes.

The following year, Rodimer moved to Texas with his wife and six children to vie for the congressional seat vacated by the late Rep. Ron Wright, who died from COVID. However, 22 others jumped into the special election race as well, and Rodimer secured less than 3% of the vote.

Tapp spent decades in prison after confessing to the murder of his friend 18-year-old Angie Dodge, who was discovered raped and nearly decapitated in her Idaho Falls apartment in 1996. Tapp, who was 20 years old when he was arrested for the crime, later retracted his confession, claiming he’d made it only after a relentless police interrogation. Despite his professions of innocence, a jury convicted him in 1998, and he spent more than 19 years behind bars.

In 2017, an organization dedicated to proving the innocence of the wrongfully accused came to Tapp’s aid and managed to get his conviction vacated to time served, but he was still considered legally responsible for Dodge’s murder. “That was one of the hardest decisions of my life, to continue to have to say I was convicted of a first-degree murder I know I didn’t do,” he told “Dateline” a few years ago. “But I had to move on with my life. And that was the only opportunity I had so I took it with the best ability that I had.”

But two years later, Tapp was fully exonerated after DNA evidence conclusively excluded him and instead placed Dodge’s neighbor Brian Dripps at the scene. Dripps, now 54, eventually pled guilty and is currently serving a 20-year sentence.

-The Blaze

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