Trial for Mollie Tibbetts homicide suspect delayed

The hearing is now set for Aug. 23, and the trial for Nov. 12.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera (contributed)

Cristhian Bahena Rivera (contributed)

Brooklyn Draisey, Summer Editor

The trial of Cristhian Bahena Rivera, the man charged with the slaying of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, has been delayed after Rivera requested more time for his attorneys to review evidence.

According to the Des Moines Register, court records filed June 21 show the hearing is now set for Aug. 23 in Poweshiek County, and the trial is scheduled to start on Nov. 12. in Woodbury County. The trial was originally set for Sept. 3 but was moved after 8th District Court Judge Joel Yates approved delaying the hearing, in which the judge will rule whether police infringed upon Rivera’s constitutional right against self-incrimination.  

Rivera, 25, was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder in 2018 after reportedly confessing to abducting Tibbetts while she was on a run July 18 near Brooklyn, Iowa.

The hearing, originally scheduled for June 25, was moved because Rivera requested more time for his attorneys to examine evidence and consult with an expert witness, according to the Register. Specifically, the lawyers are reviewing the not-yet disclosed results of a May search warrant of Rivera’s Google account and location information from July 18 and July 23. 

RELATED: Mollie Tibbetts homicide suspect asks for more time before judge decides if police violated his rights

According to the Register, Chad and Jennifer Frese represent Rivera, and they have enlisted the help of an expert linguist to check the accuracy of a translation of the 12-hour interview between Rivera and law enforcement, which was conducted mostly in Spanish, and another expert to check the interview transcript. 

Rivera’s attorneys filed the motion to suppress evidence in March and argued that Rivera was not read his Miranda rights until nine or 10 hours after the interview with law enforcement began, making any confession made during that time involuntary. 

According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, court documents released May 31 show Rivera was read his Miranda rights in Spanish at approximately 11:30 p.m. during interviews that went from the evening of Aug. 20 to the morning of Aug. 21.

“During the interview, both before and after Miranda warnings were read, the defendant made several admissions concerning his involvement in the disappearance and death of Mollie Tibbetts,” the documents stated. “Following the interview, the defendant led law enforcement to the location of Mollie Tibbetts’ body.”

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