POWESHIEK COUNTY, Iowa – Prosecutors for the state are asking a judge to make sure they can cross-examine the man accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts at an upcoming evidentiary hearing, even though he plans to enter a written affidavit into testimony.
A hearing on a motion to suppress a portion of Cristhian Rivera’s interview with police – in which officers say he admitted to killing Tibbetts – is scheduled for November 13. Rivera’s attorneys claim he was not properly read his Miranda rights during initial interviews.
In a request filed Wednesday, the state says it has learned Rivera plans to testify at the hearing by written affidavit. The state says this would deny it the opportunity to cross-examine Rivera if the judge allows the affidavit in place of live testimony.
The state is asking for the chance to cross-examine Rivera if the judge allows the affidavit to be entered into the record. If prosecutors will not be allowed to cross-examine Rivera, they’re asking for the affidavit to be excluded on grounds of hearsay.
Rivera is charged with first-degree murder in the death of the 20-year-old University of Iowa student. Tibbetts disappeared in July of 2018 while on a run in her hometown of Brooklyn. Her body was found just over a month later, concealed in a cornfield, after police say Rivera led them to the location.
Rivera’s murder trial is scheduled for February 4, 2020. It has been moved to Woodbury County due to pre-trial publicity.