Man charged with Mollie Tibbetts’ murder makes pretrial appearance in court

Iowa News

MONTEZUMA, Iowa (WHO-TV) — The man accused of murdering Mollie Tibbetts made his first appearance in court in-person in more than a year Thursday morning for a pretrial conference.

Cristhian Rivera’s case has been delayed multiple times due to the pandemic and many legal proceedings over the last year have been through teleconference as a safety precaution against COVID-19.

Rivera is charged with first-degree murder. He is accused of killing Tibbetts, a 20-year-old University of Iowa student who disappeared during a run in her hometown of Brooklyn in July of 2018.

Investigators say just over a month after she disappeared Rivera led them to Tibbetts’ body, which was concealed in a cornfield.

During the pretrial conference, Thursday morning at the Poweshiek County Courthouse, plans for the trial were outlined. The trial is set to begin at 8 a.m. on May 17 at the Scott County Courthouse in Davenport.

Jury selection is expected to take two days with opening statements planned for 9:00 a.m. May 19th. Including jury selection, the proceedings are expected to last 10 days.

The trial was moved out of Poweshiek County because of pre-trial publicity.

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