Cristhian Rivera won’t be sentenced as planned on Thursday

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Cristhian Bahena Rivera listens as Assistant Iowa Attorney General Scott Brown delivers his closing arguments in his trial, Thursday, May 27, 2021, at the Scott County Courthouse in Davenport, Iowa. Bahena Rivera is on trial after being charged with first degree murder in the death of Mollie Tibbetts in July 2018. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, pool)

IOWA — The man convicted of the murder of Mollie Tibbetts will not be sentenced on Thursday as the state considers new motions filed by the defense. Cristhian Rivera was convicted of First Degree Murder on May 28th. The conviction carries a mandatory life sentence without the possiblity of parole in Iowa.

Rivera was scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday morning, but on Wednesday that hearing was postponed as the state considers pre-sentencing motions filed by the defense. On Monday, Rivera’s attorneys requested a new trial, claiming that a new witness had come forward with information that could prove Rivera’s innocence. The judge will consider a motion on that request on Thursday. A new sentencing date hasn’t been set.

Rivera admitted to police in an interview that he confronted Tibbetts while she was jogging in her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa in 2018. He told police that Tibbetts slapped him and that he then blacked out. He told police the next thing he could remember was taking Tibbetts’ body from the trunk of his car and dragging it into a cornfield. Her body was discovered there months later.

At trial, however, Rivera testified for the first time that two-masked men placed him in a car and drove him to rural Poweshiek County where he was left with Tibbetts’ body.

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