The pb researcher successful the 2018 decease of University of Iowa pupil Mollie Tibbetts expressed assurance Tuesday that the close antheral was convicted, rejecting defence claims that her abduction could beryllium tied to 2 different section men.
Division of Criminal Investigation cause Trent Vileta said that had they known, detectives searching for Tibbetts successful 2018 would person looked into different woman’s assertion that she’d been lured by a antheral from Tibbetts’ tiny hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa, weeks earlier and held successful a adjacent location for enactment trafficking.
But the woman’s ailment did not pb to transgression charges and Vileta said it should beryllium disregarded fixed the grounds tying section farmhand Cristhian Bahena Rivera to Tibbetts’ abduction and stabbing death.
Vileta noted that Bahena Rivera partially confessed to stalking Tibbetts portion she was retired for a run, sidesplitting her and dumping her assemblage successful a cornfield, wherever helium led investigators aft a lengthy interrogation successful August 2018. He said that Bahena Rivera’s statements were “completely corroborated from commencement to finish.”
“Cristhian Rivera murdered Mollie Tibbetts,” Vileta testified astatine a proceeding connected Bahena Rivera’s petition for a caller trial.
After proceeding hours of grounds Tuesday, Judge Joel Yates said helium would instrumentality the substance nether advisement and contented a written ruling arsenic soon arsenic possible.
Bahena Rivera’s lawyers sought to nexus Tibbetts’ decease to the different young woman’s study of being kidnapped and sexually assaulted successful the summertime of 2018, and the caller disappearance of an 11-year-old lad from the aforesaid county. A 50-year-old suspected methamphetamine trader has been investigated successful some cases but hasn't been charged successful either, and prosecutors accidental helium has nary necktie to Tibbetts astatine all.
Yates told Bahena Rivera’s lawyers astatine times that helium was having occupation seeing immoderate relevance to the lawsuit against their client.
Jurors recovered Bahena Rivera blameworthy of first-degree execution aft a two-week proceedings successful May. They rejected his grounds successful which helium claimed that 2 masked men kidnapped him astatine gunpoint from his trailer, forced him to thrust to wherever Tibbetts was moving connected a agrarian road, killed her, enactment her assemblage successful his trunk and made him dispose of it.
Bahena Rivera, who illegally entered the U.S. from Mexico arsenic a teenager, said helium didn't archer investigators astir the 2 men earlier due to the fact that they had threatened to termination his ex-girlfriend and young daughter.
He was to beryllium sentenced to beingness successful situation earlier this month. But astatine the extremity of his trial, 2 caller witnesses came guardant independently of 1 different and told constabulary that a section 21-year-old man, Gavin Jones, told them helium had killed Tibbetts. Defense lawyers requested a caller proceedings based connected that and different recently discovered information, and Yates agreed to postpone sentencing portion helium considered their request.
One of those witnesses, inmate Arne Maki, testified Tuesday that Jones told him of his engagement past twelvemonth erstwhile they were some held astatine the Keokuk County Jail. Jones said helium and different antheral stabbed Tibbetts aft she was held astatine a enactment trafficking “trap house” wherever they were staying and framed Bahena Rivera for the death, Maki testified. An older antheral successful complaint of the location had ordered her killed, Maki said.
Maki said helium came guardant aft seeing quality clips astir Bahena Rivera’s grounds successful which helium said 2 different men were liable for the crime. Maki, 46, said helium was getting nary payment for his testimony, saying helium wanted to “do the close thing.”
“I conscionable privation to accidental 1 thing, my thoughts and prayers spell retired to the Tibbetts family,” Maki said, aft his grounds concluded.
Jones has denied immoderate engagement and prosecutors worked Tuesday to wide him. Prosecutor Bart Klaver noted that Jones was successful a rehabilitation installation successful the summertime of 2018 and past successful an assisted surviving installation nether authorities supervision. They besides noted that Tibbetts was not chopped up and wrapped successful plastic, arsenic Maki testified that Jones had told him.
Vileta said that neither Jones nor the 50-year-old antheral came up during the investigation. Under cross-examination, helium said investigators hadn't tested their DNA to find whether either is linked to 2 unidentified samples recovered on with Tibbetts' humor successful the trunk of Bahena Rivera's vehicle.
Bahena Rivera's DNA was not a match, and investigators ne'er recovered a execution weapon.