Judge Delays Sentencing After Twists in Mollie Tibbetts Case

2 weeks ago 5
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A justice connected Wednesday delayed sentencing for the antheral convicted of sidesplitting University of Iowa pupil Mollie Tibbetts aft defence lawyers said they needed clip to analyse caller accusation pointing to different imaginable suspects.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 27, was scheduled to beryllium sentenced to beingness successful situation without parole Thursday earlier his lawyers revealed recently obtained accusation that they accidental mightiness implicate a enactment trafficking ringing successful her kidnapping and death.

Judge Joel Yates ruled Wednesday the sentencing would beryllium delayed until aft helium holds hearings connected the defense's requests to compel prosecutors to release information astir different suspects and to bid a caller trial. Yates said helium would clasp the archetypal proceeding Thursday astatine the Poweshiek County Courthouse successful Montezuma and acceptable a aboriginal day for the proceeding connected a caller trial.

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Prosecutors argued successful a tribunal filing Wednesday that the caller accusation cited by the defence isn't credible, is “grossly inconsistent" with Bahena Rivera's grounds and would not person changed the trial's outcome.

“The overwhelming magnitude of grounds points to the guilt of the defendant,” they wrote.

A assemblage successful May found Bahena Rivera guilty of first-degree execution successful the stabbing decease of Tibbetts, 20, who vanished portion retired for a tally successful her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa, successful July 2018.

Prosecutors built their lawsuit connected surveillance video showing Bahena Rivera driving successful the vicinity of wherever Tibbetts disappeared portion jogging, connected DNA grounds showing that her humor was recovered successful his car's trunk, and connected a partial confession in which Bahena Rivera led investigators to a distant cornfield wherever her assemblage was recovered a period aft she disappeared.

Bahena Rivera, a dairy workplace worker, claimed publically for the archetypal clip portion testifying astatine his proceedings that 2 masked men were liable for the sidesplitting and had forced him to thrust them astir and dispose of Tibbetts' assemblage astatine gunpoint. A autochthonal of Mexico who illegally came to the U.S. arsenic a teenager, helium has been jailed since his 2018 arrest.

Defense lawyers Chad and Jennifer Frese requested a caller proceedings past week, saying 2 witnesses precocious came guardant independently of 1 different to partially enactment Bahena Rivera's testimony. The witnesses told investigators that a 21-year-old antheral with a past of unit against women had claimed work for sidesplitting Tibbetts.

One of the witnesses said the antheral told him portion they were astatine a region jailhouse that Tibbetts had been kidnapped and brought to a “trap house” utilized for enactment trafficking earlier she was killed, according to Bahena Rivera's lawyers.

The antheral told the witnesser that the location was owned by a 50-year-old who was moving the trafficking ringing and decided to person Tibbetts killed aft the publicity surrounding her disappearance got excessively big. The antheral allegedly said helium and an subordinate followed done with a program devised by the 50-year-old to stab Tibbetts and framework a Hispanic antheral for the death.

The Freses said they learned Tuesday astir a transgression probe that centered connected a 50-year-old antheral who allegedly met 1 of his enactment trafficking victims successful May 2018 astatine a state presumption successful Brooklyn, Tibbetts' hometown of 1,700 radical that is astir 50 miles (80 kilometers) westbound of Iowa City.

The pistillate told investigators that the antheral lured her to a location successful the adjacent municipality of New Sharon, wherever she was repeatedly drugged, raped, and held against her volition until August 2018, tribunal records show. The pistillate said she sometimes would perceive different women's voices successful the home.

Law enforcement officials utilized the accusation to get a warrant to hunt the location days aft they interviewed her successful March 2019, but it had already been vacated by the 50-year-old man. They did not complaint him, and Mahaska County's sheriff said precocious the kidnapping and enactment trafficking allegations were ne'er substantiated.

Still, defence lawyers reason that prosecutors should person turned implicit details astir the probe nether their work to supply exculpatory information. They said the imaginable beingness of the “trap house” corroborates the caller witnesses' claims.

They are asking Yates to bid the authorities to merchandise accusation astir anterior enactment trafficking investigations, including immoderate involving the 21-year-old and 50-year-old. They noted that respective different young radical person gone missing from the country successful caller years, calling that “very troubling.”

Prosecutors said they weren't required to stock specified accusation due to the fact that determination was nary grounds Tibbetts had been sexually trafficked. They said the defence was notified of the caller witnesses coming guardant astatine the extremity of the trial, but declined to travel up connected the accusation past due to the fact that it didn't acceptable their case.

In tribunal filings, the Freses noted that the 50-year-old antheral had travel nether scrutiny successful the probe into the disappearance of an 11-year-old boy, Xavior Harrelson. Xavior vanished from his trailer parkland successful Montezuma connected May 28, during closing arguments of the Bahena Rivera trial.

The defence filings noted the 50-year-old antheral is the erstwhile live-in fellow of Xavior's mother. Investigators searching for Xavior began looking for the antheral and arrested him connected an unrelated outstanding warrant successful different region the time aft the lad was reported missing.

Federal authorities detained the 50-year-old antheral past week connected charges of illegally possessing a sawed-off shotgun. He hasn't been charged successful the boy's disappearance.

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