Cristhian Bahena Rivera was found guilty of the murder of Mollie Tibbetts, a 20-year-old American University of Iowa student on May 28th. By all indications, Rivera was likely to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole which seemed far too light a punishment for the horrific murder and rape of Mollie Tibbets. However, Judge Joel Yates said on July 14th that sentencing will be delayed now that two new witnesses have come forward which have called the conviction of Rivera into question.
As previously reported by The GOP Times, “During the trial, the illegal immigrant working as a farm hand recanted his confession claiming for the first time that he was abducted by two masked men who forced him to participate in Tibbetts murder and threatened his family to ensure his silence but his story kept changing.”
The autopsy of Mollie Tibbetts established that she met a horrifically violent end having suffered multiple “sharp impact injuries”. Rivera confessed to the murder while in police custody.
CNN reported, “Cristhian Bahena Rivera, a 26-year-old undocumented immigrant from Mexico, admitted in an August 2018 interview with police that he followed Tibbetts while she was out for an evening run, got angry at her and “blacked out,” according to an arrest affidavit and testimony at trial. Rivera said he later came to and realized she was bleeding in his vehicle’s trunk and then buried her in a remote Iowa cornfield, according to prosecutors.
A New Narrative Surround Mollie Tibbetts Death Emerges
Fox News has reported that “One of the witnesses, an inmate at a county jail, told investigators that a fellow inmate confessed to him that he and another man stabbed Tibbetts after she was kidnapped into a sex trafficking ring, then framed a Hispanic man in her death.”
“The second new witness told a local sheriff’s office that she was in a car with the same man a month earlier when he said, “That Mexican shouldn’t be in jail for killing Mollie [Tibbetts] because I raped her and killed her,” according to Iowa News Now.”
After announcing the delay of the sentencing Judge Yates said he will hold new hearings requested by Bahena Rivera’s attorneys. The legal team is asking the state of Iowa to “release any information they have about the sex trafficking investigations.”
According to ABC News, “Bahena Rivera’s attorneys filed a motion Tuesday alleging prosecutors failed to disclose a separate investigation was occurring at the time of Tibbetts’ disappearance involving a man, who is now in prison on a gun charge, allegedly operating a sex trafficking “trap house” in New Sharon, Iowa, which is 27 miles from where Tibbetts went missing on July 18, 2018. The man, according to the defense attorneys, had once been the live-in boyfriend of the mother of Xavior Harrelson, who has been missing since May 27.”
Should the witness testimony or evidence prove exculpatory, it could lead to a suspension of sentence for Bahena Rivera and very likely an appeal. However, Prosecutor Scott Brown, an Assistant Iowa State Attorney General told Judge Yates “We resist providing anything that they’re asking for. There is no discovery post-trial,” and deemed the defense’s request “a fishing expedition”.
“If they want to go and knock themselves out trying to find out all of this confusing information that has been presented to the court, go right ahead and do that,” Brown said of the defense. “But there is nothing in the rules, nothing in the case law that compels the state to chase its tail because they’re asking us to do it.”
“There is no connection between anything with Xavior Harrelson and Mollie Tibbetts’ disappearance,” Brown said. “Wow is all I can say with regard to their (the defense’s) request to go down that road.” The hearing has been tentatively scheduled for July 27th.