Trial for man accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts delayed for third time

The trial for Christian Bahena Rivera set for Jan. 15, 2021 has been put on hold again until May 17, with the court citing COVID-19 as the cause for delay.

Mollie+Tibbetts

Mollie Tibbetts

Rachel Schilke, News Editor


The trial for the man accused of killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts has been delayed again because of COVID-19.

Christian Bahena Rivera is accused of stabbing Tibbetts to death in June 2018. The trial date has been rescheduled to May 17 in Davenport, with a pretrial conference set for April 15.  

This is the third time the trial has been delayed. Originally set for Feb. 4, the trial was rescheduled in April to Sept. 29 after Bahena Rivera’s lawyers appealed regarding an evidence-suppression motion, claiming Rivera was given an incomplete reading of his Miranda rights.  

In July, the trial was again postponed until Jan. 21, 2021, with both parties citing COVID-19 as the cause for delay. 

In November, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that all jury proceedings would be delayed until February 2021 as COVID-19 cases began to surge statewide. 

As previously reported by The Daily Iowan, Bahena Rivera was charged with first-degree murder following Tibbetts’ disappearance while jogging on July 18, 2018 in Brooklyn, IA. 

Bahena Rivera led officers to Tibbetts’ body on Aug. 21, 2018 following his 11-hour police interview, but he has since pleaded not guilty to her murder. If convicted, Bahena Rivera faces life in prison.

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