Attorneys for man accused of murdering Mollie Tibbetts request another trial delay

No new trial date has been set yet for Cristhian Bahena Rivera, but the state did not resist a continuance of the trial.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera (contributed)

Cristhian Bahena Rivera (contributed)

Kayli Reese, Managing News Editor

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The attorneys for the man accused of killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts in 2018 have requested his trial be delayed for a second time, court records show.

Chad and Jennifer Frese, the attorneys for defendant Cristhian Bahena Rivera, have spoken to expert witnesses in regards to new evidence findings, according to the court documents, but the witnesses said they could not review the evidence in time if the trial date remains Nov. 12.

The motion to delay the trial that the Freses filed said Bahena Rivera’s right to a fair trial would be denied if the trial was not delayed.

In the state’s response to the motion on Thursday, documents read that the state is prepared to start the trial Nov. 12, but “the state does not resist a continuance.” The state requests that the court issue an order to continue the trial, the documents said.

RELATED: Trial for Mollie Tibbetts homicide suspect will still start on Nov. 12

Bahena Rivera will still appear in court Oct. 22 and 23 in an evidence-suppression hearing that will determine whether authorities violated his rights during his arrest and questioning.

If the court grants the motion, this would not be the first time the trial has been delayed because of new evidentiary findings. The original start date was Sept. 3, but Bahena Rivera’s attorneys requested more time to review evidence that had not yet undergone forensic testing.

According to court documents, the results of that forensic testing were released to attorneys on Oct. 4.

“The results of this forensic testing are critical to the defense of Mr. Bahena Rivera,” the documents read.

Authorities said Bahena Rivera confessed to abducting and killing Tibbetts while she was running near her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa, on July 18, 2018. After leading law-enforcement officials to her body, he was charged with first-degree murder on Aug. 21, 2018.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder.

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