The murder trial for the alleged killer of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts has been set for September, according to officials.
Bahena Rivera, 26, will stand trial for first-degree murder, starting September 29, in connection with the July 2018 death of Tibbetts. A judge previously postponed the trial in order to allow the Iowa Supreme Court time to determine if Rivera’s Rivera’s Miranda rights had been violated when authorities interrogated him, Des Moines Register reports.
The Supreme Court ultimately denied the defense team’s request.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Mollie, a University of Iowa student and an avid jogger who ran on the cross-country team during high school, disappeared on July 18, from Brooklyn, Iowa.
In August 2018, authorities arrested Rivera after he reportedly led them to Mollie’s deceased body, found in a cornfield around 12 miles southeast of Brooklyn.
“During our neighborhood canvas, we came across an individual that had security cameras,” Poweshiek County Sheriff Tom Kriegel said, explaining how Rivera landed on the radar of authorities.
“He [the resident with surveillance footage] was kind enough to give us the footage from it. And through that, we were able to identify a vehicle that believe belonged to Mr. Rivera. It was a black Malibu. And from that we were able to track his pattern and the routes in which he took.”
Rivera reportedly told investigators that he spotted Mollie jogging near Middle and Boundary Streets, when he slowed down and started following her in his black Chevrolet Malibu.
At some point, Rivera got out of the vehicle and began following the University of Iowa student by foot, even jogging alongside her. Apparently frightened, Mollie told the suspect she would call 911, then pulled out her phone, according to Rivera’s reported admission.
Rivera said he became upset and “blacked out” at the threat, something he claimed he did often when becoming too angry, according to investigators.
Rivera allegedly told investigators the next thing he remembered was waking up inside his car, parked at a rural intersection. He immediately made a U-turn and drove to the entrance of a rural field. He then drove into a driveway of a cornfield.
Rivera said at some point he looked down noticed Mollie’s earpiece from her earbuds or headphones lying on his lap, and “realized he put her in the truck.”
Upon checking the trunk, Rivera said he found Mollie inside, with one side of her head bloodied, according to the affidavit. The suspect allegedly said he pulled Mollie out of the trunk and dragged her by foot into a secluded area in the woods.
Rivera then tossed Mollie over his shoulders and walked around 20 meters into the woods, where he tossed her body on the ground and covered her with corn leaves, the affidavit read.
Rivera remains behind bars on a $5 million cash-only bail amount.
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[Feature Photo: Mollie Tibbetts/Handout]