MONTEZUMA, Iowa – Cristhian Bahena Rivera was finally sentenced for the murder of Mollie Tibbetts. He will spend the rest of his life in prison without the chance of parole.
“I would tell the court based on the facts and circumstances of this case, it is very well deserved,” prosecutor Scott Brown said.
The mandatory sentence that only took about 15 minutes to determine comes more than three years since Tibbetts went missing and her body was found.
“It’s been a long haul for the family and for those of us who have been prosecuting the case, investigating it, so we’re just really pleased with the result and finally got it to the finish line,” Brown said.
Tibbetts’ mother, Laura Calderwood, addressed Bahena Rivera directly through a victim impact statement read aloud in the courtroom by someone else.
“Because of your act, Mollie’s father, Rob, will never get to walk his only daughter down the aisle. Because of your act, Mr. Rivera, I will never get to see my daughter become a mother.”
Leaving the convicted killer with this final thought: “This is the legacy you left behind for your only child, Mr. Rivera. I don’t know whose situation is worse.”
In addition to the life sentence, Judge Joel Yates ordered Bahena Rivera to pay $150,000 to Tibbetts’ family and provide a DNA sample.
Bahena Rivera’s defense attorneys say they plan to appeal the sentence. They have 30 days to do so.