Cristhian Bahena Rivera to be sentenced Thursday, defense calls for new trial

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POWESHIEK COUNTY, Iowa — The man found guilty of the murder of Mollie Tibbetts will be sentenced this week, nearly three years after the University of Iowa student first went missing, but calls for a new trial continue in the case.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera was convicted of first-degree murder earlier this year. The mandatory sentence for first-degree murder in Iowa is life in prison without parole.

Last week, Rivera’s defense team filed a motion asking for a new trial and an arrest of judgement, saying they have discovered new evidence. The defense filed for a DOC inmate to be transported to the sentencing hearing, which the judge has approved.

Rivera’s sentencing hearing is set for Thursday in Poweshiek County.

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