MOLLIE TIBBETTS

November trial remains on track for man accused of fatally stabbing Mollie Tibbetts

Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, responds to a question from Magistrate Diane Crooklyn-Johnson during an Aug. 22, 2018, hearing in Poweshiek County Courthouse in Montezuma. Rivera is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, responds to a question from Magistrate Diane Crooklyn-Johnson during an Aug. 22, 2018, hearing in Poweshiek County Courthouse in Montezuma. Rivera is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
/

MONTEZUMA — The trial for the man accused of fatally stabbing Mollie Tibbetts last July remains on track to begin Nov. 12 in Woodbury County District Court.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, charged with first-degree murder, appeared Friday in Poweshiek County District Court to formally waive his rights to trial within a year.

He filed the waiver June 26, but 8th Judicial District Judge Joel Yates wanted Bahena Rivera to make the waiver in person to ensure he understood his rights.

There was an interpreter in court to aid him, as well as his attorneys.

Yates reset the hearing on a motion to suppress evidence for Oct. 22 and 23.

The defense wants to exclude Bahena Rivera’s statements to police during an interrogation. His attorneys argue his rights were violated and some evidence should be tossed out.

Authorities said Bahena Rivera admitted to killing Tibbetts and then led them to a cornfield south of Guernsey on Aug. 21, 2018, where the University of Iowa student’s body was hidden, Tibbetts, 20, had been missing for about a month after she went missing while jogging near her home in Brooklyn, Iowa.

An autopsy showed Tibbetts died of multiple stab wounds.

Bahena Rivera’s trial will be in Woodbury County in northwest Iowa on a change of venue because the defense argued extensive pretrial publicity would prevent the undocumented man from having a fair trial.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.