An Iowa jury on Friday convicted farmer Cristhian Bahena Rivera in the first-degree murder of college student Mollie Tibbetts in 2018.
The panel in Davenport looked for seven hours in the two days before returning with Rivera’s verdict. A 24-year-old Mexican girl led investigators to Tibbetts’ body in a cornfield in Brooklyn, Iowa, nearly a month after she went jogging on 18 July and disappear
The defendant showed no emotion when a single verdict was announced.
He could be convicted of second-degree murder or willful murder. But when the jury agrees on the highest charge Those lesser options became questionable.
District Court Judge Joel Yates ordered Rivera to be held without bail. and imposed a penalty on July 15
Officers handcuffed the now-convicted murderer and brought him back to jail. While the defense attorney and prosecutor sincerely shake hands.
“In this case, we are delighted that the jury took the time to look at the evidence and consider it,” defense attorney Jennifer Fress, who stood beside her co-counsel and husband Chad Fress, told reporters. It’s impossible to find a jury who hasn’t heard of the case.”
The first sentence of death, which is the highest sentence in life after imprisonment. That doesn’t surprise MSNBC legal analyst Cynthia Alksne, a former federal prosecutor.
“He took them to the funeral and confessed that he was hiding at the critical moment and he was in the video stalking her. circled her in his car All of those things combined,” said the extreme case, Alksne said.
At the beginning of the trial Defense lawyers tried to deduce that Tibbetts boyfriend Dalton Jack was unfaithful and wrestled with anger issues. But the boyfriend is working on a construction site more than 100 miles away in Dubuque. When Tibbett disappeared, witnesses said.
Then, in a dramatic move by the defense on Wednesday, Rivera testified in self-defense and testified that two masked men committed the crime. but forced him to join with a gun at point.
Chad and Jennifer Fresnel said their clients told them about the masked man when they first met him nearly three years ago.
“He never changed from that version of events. There were no details,” Chad Frese said, “so we had to do something there. We think the jury needs to hear directly from him.”
Jennifer Frese says the story of the masked attacker wasn’t built in a desperate hour.
“If we build something We can get something better than that,” she said.
Still, Alksne said the defendants’ testimony did more harm than good.
“It’s pathetic,” Alksne said. “You can’t have two defenses like that. All it does is make the jury want more judgments. He’d better keep quiet than all nonsense.”
The lawsuit against Rivera undocumented worker It caught national attention when former President Donald Trump and other Republicans said the tragedy was made possible by lax immigration laws.
The Tibbetts’ family resisted that narrative and pleaded with politicians not to name the University of Iowa students to develop an anti-immigration agenda.
“Sadly, others ignored our request. Instead, they choose to ruthlessly manipulate and manipulate Mollie’s tragic death in order to lead to a cause for which she is so violently opposed. I encourage the immigration debate. The sensible outcome is immeasurable,” her father Rob Tibbetts wrote in the Des Moines registry, “but don’t tune Molly’s spirit into a progressive view that she believes is deeply racist.”
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