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Judge Rules Against Illegal Immigrant In Mollie Tibbets Death Case, Most Evidence To Be Allowed


The attorneys for the illegal immigrant accused with killing college student Mollie Tibbets had been trying to get the court to suppress evidence against him.

The judge just ruled that most of it WILL BE admissible at trial.  

From the local Des Moines Register:

A judge has ruled that, despite requests to suppress evidence, most testimony and evidence against the man accused of killing Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts can be taken to trial. 

District Judge Joel Yates, in an opinion filed Monday, has ruled in the defense's favor that any testimonial evidence obtained between when Cristhian Bahena Rivera was read his Miranda rights improperly and when he was read them properly about six hours later cannot be used at trial. 

However, Yates disagreed with Bahena Rivera's other claims that his rights were violated.

Yates concluded that Bahena Rivera did consent to the search of his car, that his statements were made voluntarily despite his claims of sleep deprivation and lengthy interrogation, and that law enforcement did not use language likely to induce a false confession, according to court documents.

Lynn Hicks, a spokesman for the Iowa Attorney General's office, said the state is pleased with the ruling and is prepared to continue to trial, scheduled to begin Feb. 4, 2020, in Woodbury County. If convicted of first-degree murder, Bahena Rivera would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Chad and Jennifer Frese, attorneys for Bahena Rivera, could not be reached for comment Monday.

Yates presided over a two-day hearing in November, during which he was tasked with deciding what evidence — including blood found in Bahena Rivera's vehicle and the location of Tibbetts' body — can be used to prosecute Bahena Rivera at trial.

Tibbetts, 20, went missing July 18, 2018, while on a run in her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa. The University of Iowa student's body was found in a cornfield Aug. 21, 2018.

Authorities have said that Bahena Rivera led them to Tibbetts’ body after telling police that he chased the young jogger after driving past her the evening she disappeared. She threatened to call police, at which point he said he got mad and “blocked his memory.” Bahena Rivera admitted to then finding her body in his trunk, before hiding her in a cornfield, according to court documents.

And from local KCCI CBS:

A Poweshiek County judge agreed to throw out some evidence in the murder trial of Cristhian Bahena Rivera.

Rivera is charged with first-degree murder in the 2018 death of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts.

District Court Judge Joel D. Yates ruled that testimonial evidence given by Rivera on Aug. 20 after an immigration detainer was placed on him will be suppressed during the trial.

Information given by Rivera prior to the detainer and following the proper reading of his Miranda rights will be allowed during the trial.

The suppressed evidence was obtained by authorities between Aug. 20 at 11:30 p.m. and Aug. 21 at 5:50 a.m.

Rivera’s attorneys the motion to suppress information in August, claiming that there was a violation of Rivera’s Miranda rights and that police coerced his confession.

Yates said in his decision that the first set of Miranda rights given to Rivera were inadequate.

Rivera’s trial is scheduled for Feb. 4 in Sioux City.

The Iowa Attorney Office said in a statement, "We're pleased with the judge's decision and we're preparing for trial."


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