Former Republican Candidate for U.S. House Is Charged With Murder

A Republican candidate who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Nevada in 2020 with the backing of President Donald J. Trump surrendered to the police on Wednesday after he was charged with killing a man in Las Vegas last year, his lawyers said.

The Las Vegas police issued an arrest warrant earlier on Wednesday for the former candidate, Daniel Rodimer, 45, a onetime professional wrestler, after he was charged with murdering Christopher Tapp, 47, at a resort on the Las Vegas Strip on Oct. 29.

Medical workers found Mr. Tapp “suffering from injuries as a result of a purported accident,” and took him to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement.

Homicide detectives learned that Mr. Tapp had been in “an altercation inside a room” at the resort, the statement said. The Clark County medical examiner’s office ruled that Mr. Tapp died as a result of blunt-force trauma to the head.

A criminal complaint accuses Mr. Rodimer of striking Mr. Tapp on the head and says the killing was “willful, deliberate and premeditated.”

Mr. Rodimer’s lawyers, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, said in a statement that Mr. Rodimer had “voluntarily surrendered, posted bond and intends to vigorously defend the case.”

Mr. Rodimer, who grew up in New Jersey, played up his brash personality and a brief wrestling stint in World Wrestling Entertainment in failed bids for political office.

After losing a Nevada State Senate race in 2018, Mr. Rodimer entered the 2020 Republican primary for a congressional seat in Nevada.

During the race, in 2019, The Associated Press reported that, according to Florida court records and sheriff’s office documents, Mr. Rodimer had been accused of punching or throwing someone to the ground in three separate disputes at nightclubs and restaurants between 2010 and 2013.

In one of the cases, from 2010, Mr. Rodimer pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge and completed a six-week anger management course in exchange for the charge being dropped, The A.P. reported. No charges were filed in the other two cases.

Mr. Rodimer, calling himself “Big Dan,” beat five candidates to win the Republican primary in Nevada’s Third Congressional District in June 2020. In October 2020, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter that “Dan has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

Mr. Rodimer captured more than 45 percent of the vote in the general election, losing by fewer than 13,000 votes to the incumbent Democrat, Representative Susie Lee.

Less than a year later, Mr. Rodimer ran for Congress again, this time in a crowded special election in the Sixth Congressional District in Texas, which was left vacant after the death of Representative Ron Wright, a Republican, in February 2021.

Mr. Rodimer promoted his past endorsement from Mr. Trump and appeared in a bull-riding campaign ad speaking with a Texas twang. He received less than 3 percent of the vote, finishing 11th in a field of 23 candidates competing for a spot in a runoff.

A spokesman for Mr. Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Mr. Tapp had endured a legal nightmare before his death.

In 2019, after spending more than 20 years in prison, he was exonerated in the 1996 rape and murder of an 18-year-old woman in Idaho Falls, Idaho. It was the first time genetic genealogy, a technique that identifies suspects by matching crime scene DNA to relatives, had been used to clear a convicted killer’s name, according to the Innocence Project.

Another man, Brian Leigh Dripps Sr., later confessed to killing the teenager, Angie Dodge, and was sentenced in 2021 to life in prison.

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