DAVENPORT, Iowa – A verdict could come Friday in the murder trial of Cristhian Bahena Rivera. He’s accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts in July of 2018.
Jurors resumed deliberating at 8:33 Friday morning and have a lot to consider.
In closing statements, the defense jumped back and forth between the interrogation of Rivera, who he was as a person, and the suspects who may have been overlooked in the investigation. The prosecution really zoned in on the evidence.
“The evidence in this case shows that the defendant and only the defendant murdered Mollie Tibbetts,” Prosecutor Scott Brown said. “There weren’t two other guys, that’s a figment of his imagination. All of the credible evidence in this case, all of it points at him.”
The evidence Brown is referring to includes video footage that shows Tibbetts running and Rivera’s car in the same area, Rivera’s confession to investigators and how he’s the one that took them to Tibbetts’ body in the cornfield, and the physical DNA evidence that shows Tibbetts’ blood in the trunk of Rivera’s car.
Meanwhile, Rivera’s defense argued the prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Rivera was Tibbetts’ killer.
Defense Attorney Chad Frese points to what he calls a ‘sloppy investigation,’ an interrogation that led to a false confession from Rivera, as well as Rivera having no motive to kill Tibbetts.
“People said he was not a violent person. It would not be like him,” Frese said. “He didn’t want to be detected. He wanted to take care of his family, take care of his daughter, work hard. This makes no sense.”
The jury is made up of seven men and five women.
The ages of the jurors are: 55, 24, 44, 19, 38, 34, 43, 45, 22, 22, 42, 71.
Three of the jurors are identified as Hispanic/Latino/Spanish while nine are identified as White.