Mollie Tibbetts murder trial set for May in Scott County, with jury selection at RiverCenter

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FILE – This undated file photo released by the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation shows Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student who was reported missing from her hometown in the eastern Iowa city of Brooklyn on July 18, 2018. Greg Willey, the vice president of Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa, said a body found […]

The man suspected of killing college student Mollie Tibbetts in 2018 is set for trial in Scott County in May.

Cristhian Rivera, charged with first-degree murder, is accused of killing Tibbetts, who was a 20-year-old University of Iowa student at the time of her death. She disappeared while she went jogging in her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa, in July of 2018.

Suspect Cristhian Rivera

Her body was found a little more than a month later in a cornfield, where Rivera led police.

Because of pre-trial publicity in the case, Rivera’s attorneys sought a jury outside of Poweshiek County so Rivera can receive a fair trial. Initially, the trial was moved to Woodbury County, but now will be in Scott County.

The jury trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection at 8 a.m. May 17 at the RiverCenter, downtown Davenport, court records say.

Once a jury has been selected, the trial will continue at the Scott County Courthouse, Davenport.

Three alternate jurors will be chosen, selected by a method determined by the judge at trial after the judge confers with attorneys.

Jury selection will proceed with panels of 12 jurors.

There have been several delays in Rivera’s trial while his attorneys argued portions of his alleged confession to police should be excluded from evidence and because of judicial orders pushing jury trials back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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