Murder trial for man accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts pushed to May 2021

Local News

Cristhian Bahena Rivera during hearing on August 23, 2019. (WHO-HD)

POWESHIEK COUNTY, Iowa — A new trial date has been set for the man accused of murdering Mollie Tibbetts in the summer of 2018.

Court documents filed Wednesday show that the new trial date was set during a status conference in the case against Cristhian Rivera, who is charged with first-degree murder in Tibbetts’ death.

Rivera had been scheduled to go on trial January 25th, 2021 but an order from the Iowa Supreme Court has postponed jury trials because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new trial date has been scheduled for May 17, 2021. The trial is being held in Davenport because of pre-trial publicity.

Tibbetts was a 20-year-old student at the University of Iowa when she disappeared from her hometown of Brooklyn while on a run on July 18th, 2018. Her body was found just over a month later, concealed in a cornfield, after police say Rivera led them to the location.

Rivera’s trial has been delayed several times while his defense argued police didn’t properly Mirandize him before questioning. A judge ruled that part of Rivera’s alleged confession to police will not be admissible during the trial.

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