Cristhian Bahena Rivera Wiki – Cristhian Bahena Rivera Biography
Cristhian Bahena Rivera was convicted of first-degree murder Friday, nearly three years after Mollie Tibbetts disappeared while jogging near her Brooklyn, Iowa, home.
Over the course of the two-week trial, jurors heard that investigators identified Bahena Rivera’s car circling in the area where Tibbetts was last seen and that during a marathon police interview he admitted to following Tibbetts, whom he found “hot.” He allegedly fought with her and then, he said, he blacked out, later realizing he had Tibbetts’ bloodied body in his trunk. He said he carried her body to the cornfield and covered it with cornstalks. Forensic experts found smears of blood with Tibbetts’ DNA in his trunk.
The mandatory sentence in Iowa for first-degree murder is life in prison. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 15.
During closing arguments Thursday, prosecutor Scott Brown displayed to the jury a photo of a smiling Tibbetts and recounted the state’s timeline of her final moments: “She crossed paths with him, and it ended her life,” he said, pointing at the defendant. “She was attacked brutally by him. She was stabbed repeatedly by him. Can you imagine what that was like for her?”
Cristhian Bahena Rivera Age
Cristhian Bahena Rivera is 26 years old.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, a farmworker, stayed mostly unphased during the court session wearing headphones where interpreters helped in translating the decision of the jury to him. The verdict was announced nearly three years after the fateful day when the body of Mollie Tibbetts was found. According to earlier reports, Rivera stated ‘blacking out’ during the incident. While Mollie Tibbetts was going for a run, he got angry at her and ‘blacked out’. The next thing he remembered is discovering a bleeding Mollie Tibbetts in his vehicle’s trunk and going to bury her in a remote Iowa cornfield.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera found Guilty
The spine-chilling first-degree murder case of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts who was killed when she was out jogging is coming to a conclusion with Cristhian Bahena Rivera, unanimously convicted by jurors on Friday, May 28. The formal sentencing of the convicted 26-year-old illegal Mexican immigrant Rivera will take place on July 15.
After Friday’s verdict, Tibbett’s family reportedly expressed being ‘relieved’ and ‘pleased’ with the decision. Prosecutor Scott Brown further stated, “The family, and other people that are that close to it, they live with it forever,” and added, “We hope that in the end… when these cases are over, we can bring a sense of justice to them, even though we would never have the ability to bring Mollie back.” Bahena Rivera’s attorneys will proceed to appeal the verdict which is an automatic formality for anyone who has been convicted with murder in Iowa.
Defense attorney Chad Frese noted that they are going to appeal as he said, “Can we tell you who did this? No,” He added, “We can tell you that getting to know Cristhian Bahena we are very surprised that he would be the kind of person to commit a crime like this. He is nothing but a soft-spoken, respectful, kind person.”
Rivera through translator has made a different claim, says a report. He has stated that two masked men kidnapped him and forced him to participate in the murder and threatened his family. Prosecutor Brown has dismissed the stance strictly saying, “There weren’t two other guys. That’s a figment of his imagination.” He asserted, “All of the credible evidence, in this case, points at him.”
While the case comes closer to the sentencing date, the defense attorney claimed that the prosecution neither had an eye-witness or a murder weapon, no crime scene or scientific evidence to back their accusations on Rivera. Rivera’s statements were taken under extreme duress, as Frese claimed, “We think Cristhian’s ‘confession,’ or statement, was inaccurate or false.”
Defense attorneys pointed the jury toward several other possible suspects, including Tibbetts’ boyfriend, Dalton Jack. On Wednesday, Bahena Rivera took the stand in his own defense and admitted leaving Tibbetts’ body in the field, but denied killing her. Instead, he said, two armed, masked men came to his home and forced him to drive them to the rural road where one of them killed Tibbetts, then ordered him to take the body to the cornfield.
The jury should have “serious doubts” about the state’s case, attorney Chad Frese said.
“It’s not your job to right a wrong,” he told jurors. “It’s not your job to impart vengeance. It’s not your job to bring justice for Mollie. She deserves justice, absolutely, but it’s your job to do justice, full stop.”
The jury received the case for deliberations at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. They broke for the day shortly before 5 p.m. and resumed deliberating at 8:30 a.m. Friday, finally reaching a verdict shortly after their lunch break. Deliberations lasted Friday, after deliberating for a total of 7 hours, 16 minutes.
The prosecution mainly proceeded with Rivera based on the surveillance video acquired from Rivera’s vehicle near Tibbetts, his statements to investigators back in August 2018, and most importantly, the matching DNA samples of Tibbetts found in Rivera’s trunk. In 2018, Poweshiek County Attorney Bart Klaver had stated, “When you put this evidence together, there can be no other conclusion than that the defendant killed Mollie Tibbetts.”
Rivera’s contradicting claims including he blacked out after getting angry and he was kidnapped by two masked men didn’t help his case as the defense attorney earlier stated, “It’s like trying to prove there’s not a Santa Claus. We don’t know who those persons could be. Remember our client was out in the middle of a very rural location. We tried to link it up as best we could with people who could have some kind of motive, but that’s very difficult to establish.”