Mollie Tibbetts Trial: Jury Deliberation Begins, Illegal Alien Faces First-Degree Murder Charge

Kelsey Kremer/The Des Moines Register via AP, Pool/Facebook

The jury in the trial against an illegal alien for allegedly murdering 20-year-old University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts begins their deliberation Thursday to determine the defendant’s guilt or innocence of first-degree murder.

Twelve jurors, a mixture of men and women, are starting their deliberation over Mexico-native Cristhian Bahena Rivera’s alleged murder of Tibbetts in July 2018 in Brooklyn, Iowa.

Bahena Rivera took investigators to Tibbetts’ body about a month after Tibbetts’ abduction and told investigators he spotted her jogging, ran up to her, became angry because she threatened to call the police, blacked out, and took her body from his car trunk and placed her in a cornfield, placing corn stalks over her.

Bahena Rivera first crossed the United States-Mexico border at 17-years-old and headed to Iowa where he has relatives. He worked at the Yarabee Farms dairy farm under the name “John Budd” from a stolen Social Security number.

Jurors are now weighing whether to convict Bahena Rivera of first-degree murder. On Wednesday, as part of the defense’s case, Bahena Rivera took the witness stand and claimed he was kidnapped by two masked men who killed Tibbetts before he dumped her body in the cornfield and drove off, never hearing from the men again.

The defense, in their closing arguments, sought to pin Tibbetts’ murder on her boyfriend Dalton Jack, claiming investigators did not thoroughly investigate other suspects once Bahena Rivera confessed to the murder. The defense told the jury that the confession, though, was coerced and false because Bahena Rivera was scared the masked men would hurt his family and he was tired.

During the trial, the medical examiner who reviewed Tibbetts’ body told the jury that she was stabbed potentially up to 12 times by her killer. Tibbetts, the medical examiner said, suffered stab wounds to her head, right hand, neck, and torso.

Last week, the jury saw photos of the cornfield where Bahena Rivera allegedly dumped Tibbetts’ body. The jury also viewed photos of Tibbetts’ body covered in corn stalks. Likewise, the jury saw photos of Bahena Rivera’s car trunk where four locations of human blood, identified as Tibbetts’, were found.

In detailed testimony by the bilingual investigator to whom Bahena Rivera allegedly confessed murdering Tibbetts, the jury was relayed portions of the transcripts. In those transcripts, Bahena Rivera said he saw Tibbetts jogging, chased her down, blacked out, then remembered driving with her body in the trunk of his car before dumping her in a cornfield.

According to prosecutors, Bahena Rivera was the last person who saw Tibbetts jogging on the evening of July 18 in Brooklyn, Iowa. She went missing later that night.

Bahena Rivera allegedly stabbed Tibbetts to death, dumped her body in a cornfield, and placed corn stalks over her body to prevent law enforcement from finding her. The illegal alien has been held on a $5 million bond.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here


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