Mollie Tibbetts Trial: Defense to Claim Illegal Alien’s Murder Confession Was Coerced

Mollie Tibbetts and Bahena Rivera
AP/Facebook

Defense attorneys for the illegal alien charged with murdering 20-year-old University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts have suggested that they will claim their client’s alleged murder confession was coerced.

In August 2018, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, a 25-year-old illegal alien from Mexico, was charged with the murder of Mollie Tibbetts after police said he admitted to confronting and chasing down the young woman.

Following a nationwide search, Tibbetts’ body was found in a cornfield in Poweshiek County, Iowa. The illegal alien lived in a region of Iowa surrounded by sanctuary cities, Breitbart News reported. He worked on a dairy farm using a stolen ID and Social Security card after allegedly crossing the U.S.-Mexico border as a child.

Following two days of jury selection, a jury of 12 jurors and three alternates have been chosen to hear the case. The Associated Press (AP) reports that Bahena Rivera’s defense team is expected to claim his alleged murder confession, which he fought vigorously to have thrown out of evidence, was coerced.

The AP reports:

A prosecutor and Bahena Rivera’s defense lawyer chose the eight men and seven women — 12 jurors and three alternates — from a pool of 183 prospective jurors after questioning them on their knowledge of the case, their opinions of his guilt and other subjects. [Emphasis added]

Defense lawyer Chad Frese only briefly addressed his client’s immigration status and race during jury selection, saying Bahena Rivera enjoys the same rights as U.S. citizens and that his lack of English language skills could not be held against him. He suggested Monday he will argue that the confession was coerced and false and that he will cast suspicion on others for the death. [Emphasis added]

Opening statements start on Wednesday, May 19, and the trial is likely to conclude by the end of next week.

As Breitbart News reported last week, defense attorneys for Bahena Rivera asked the court to block the mention of the illegal alien’s prior criminal record and allegations surrounding that record. Such a move would prevent jurors from knowing about Bahena Rivera’s criminal record.

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, according to police, said Tibbetts was jogging when he saw her. At that point, Bahena Rivera said he approached Tibbetts and began talking to her. After Tibbetts told Bahena Rivera she would call the police if he did not stop following her, the illegal alien allegedly chased her and “blacked out” after that.

Police believe Bahena Rivera stabbed Tibbetts to death, dumped her body in a cornfield, and placed corn stalks over her 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 jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here.

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