IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Defense lawyers for the man charged in the killing of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts are asking a judge to delay his trial.
Lawyers for Cristhian Bahena Rivera say they need to push back the Feb. 4 trial date so that they have time to appeal a judge’s ruling that allowed key evidence to be used against their client. The Iowa Supreme Court will consider whether to take the appeal before trial.
Rivera’s lawyers also say they would now like to depose several individuals recently added to the prosecution’s witness list, including Tibbetts’ boyfriend at the time of her July 2018 disappearance.
Rivera is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Tibbetts, who was 20 when she vanished while out for a run in her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa. He faces life in prison if convicted at trial, which will take place in Sioux City, Iowa.
Investigators say Rivera, a dairy farm employee, led them to Tibbetts’ body in a cornfield in August 2018 after an interrogation. They also say Tibbetts’ blood was found in the trunk of Rivera’s car, which is seen on video driving near Tibbetts while she was running.
Prosecutors say there’s “no basis” for any delay in the trial.