MONTEZUMA, Iowa– Wednesday, Cristhian Rivera plead not guilty to first degree murder.
Police say Cristhian Bahena Rivera abducted Tibbetts, stabbed her to death, and hid her body in a cornfield about 15 miles South of her hometown of Brooklyn.
Rivera told police he “blacked out” and doesn’t remember how Mollie ended up dead.
Mollie’s cousin Jamie Koster says seeing the man who admitted to killing her cousin was not easy.
“It was really hard to hear the plea of not guilty,” Jamie Koster said.
Along with that not guilty plea Rivera waived his right to a speedy trial, and the judge set his murder trial for April 16, 2019.
“Anger wanted to come through, but I knew that I had to keep it in check, that’s not how I want to represent our family,” Koster said.
Attorney Chad Frese represents Rivera.
Despite mounting concerns over Rivera’s immigration status Frese says that’s not the focus of their defense.
“We are not going to let this become an issue with this case. Our focus is Cristhian’s charge that he is facing, and the death of this woman, whether he is legal or illegal has nothing to do with the facts of this case,” Chad Frese said.
Koster hopes this all ends with justice for Mollie.
Rivera is being held on a $5 million-dollar cash only bond.