Botched Miranda warning excludes statements in Tibbetts case

Local News

Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, is lad from the courtroom after making his initial appearance on a charge of first-degree murder during at the Poweshiek County Courthouse in Montezuma, Iowa, on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018. Rivera is accused of killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

MONTEZUMA, Iowa (AP) – Part of the case against a former farmhand charged with first-degree murder in the killing of 20-year-old University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts appears to be in jeopardy because of a botched Miranda warning.

Reports say prosecutors have agreed to exclude some statements that 25-year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera reportedly made to police. Court documents filed Friday by prosecutors acknowledge that the initial Miranda warning given to Rivera around 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 20, 2018, failed to inform him that anything he said could be used against him in court.

His Miranda rights were accurately read to him a second time at 5:50 a.m. Aug. 21, as police were in a cornfield where Tibbetts’ body was found.

Rivera is accused of killing Tibbetts, who disappeared while out for a run near Brooklyn, Iowa. Investigators found her body a month later. Officials say she was stabbed to death.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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