UPDATE: Bahena Rivera’s Sentencing Officially Delayed
UPDATE - 9:44am July 14, 2021
A judge has officially delayed the sentencing of Christian Bahena Rivera in the death of Mollie Tibbetts. CBS2 reports that Bahena Rivera was originally set to be sentenced tomorrow after being convicted of first-degree murder in May. Now, the hearing tomorrow will focus on a separate motion that will pick a date for a new hearing that will look at the defense's motion for a new trial.
Bahena Rivera's defense lawyers say that they have evidence from several sources that point to their client being framed for Tibbett's murder.
26 year old Christian Bahena Rivera is set to be sentenced on Thursday on a first degree murder conviction. He was found guilty in the death of 20 year old college student Mollie Tibbetts back on May 28th. But his defense team now says it has new information that was starting to come to light before the conviction, that sex traffickers were involved in Tibbetts death, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette. The new information could lead to a new trial for Rivera.
At the trial, Rivera took the stand in his own defense. He testified that he was kidnapped by two masked men, who then forced him to drive to where Tibbetts was jogging. He then claimed that one of them killed her, and put her body in the back of Rivera's car's trunk, according to the Gazette. In the end, the jury didn't buy his story, convicting Rivera of first-degree murder in the case.
But in new court filings, defense lawyers Jennifer and Chad Frese say that there are now witnesses that can support Rivera's version of events, the others were responsible for Tibbett's death. The Gazette reports that two different people who do not know each other, told law enforcement in two different cities that the same person was responsible for the killing. That person is not named in the new court filings.
The defense motion claims that "this evidence certainly would have made a difference in the verdict." One thing is for sure. This will NOT be any ordinary sentencing hearing coming up on Thursday.
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