Judge considers potential new evidence in Cristhian Rivera trial

Iowa News

POWESHIEK COUNTY, IOWA (WHO-TV) — Cristhian Rivera was back in court on Thursday as a judge considers potential new evidence in the case.

Rivera’s defense pointed to new suspects in the 2018 murder of Mollie Tibbetts, saying they have information that three people vanished in Poweshiek County, a county with only 19,000 people.

Rivera was convicted in May of the murder of Mollie Tibbetts in 2018. Rivera was scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday to a mandatory term of life in prison without parole. However, sentencing has now been delayed after a pair of motions were filed this week by Rivera’s defense with a claim regarding the confession to Tibbetts’ murder, as well as an alleged sex trafficking ring in Poweshiek County.

Rivera admitted to confronting Tibbetts on the day she disappeared and then hiding her body in a cornfield where it was discovered months later. However, at trial, he told a new story publicly for the first time – claiming two masked men took him from his home and left him alone in rural Poweshiek County.

This week Rivera’s defense came forward with alleged new evidence in the case. In light of this new information, Rivera’s defense is calling for a new trial.

The defense also motioned for the state to produce evidence regarding the sex trafficking operation, but state attorneys resisted that request.

The judge says he will have a decision on the motion, which should come by the end of the week.

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