POWESHIEK COUNTY, IOWA — Cristhian Rivera is back in court on Thursday as a judge considers potential new evidence in the case. Rivera was convicted in May of the murder of Mollie Tibbetts in 2018.
Rivera was scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday to a mandatory term of life in prison without parole. However, sentencing has now been delayed after a pair of motions were filed this week by Rivera’s defense.
Rivera admitted to confronting Tibbetts on the day she disappeared and then hiding her body in a cornfield where it was discovered months later. However, at trial he told a new story publicly for the first time – claiming two masked men took him from his home and left him alone in rural Poweshiek County. This week Rivera’s defense came forward with alleged new evidence in the case. In light of this new information, Rivera’s defense is calling for a new trial.
On Thursday, a judge will consider one preliminary motion before deciding on how to proceed with the request for a new trial.