An Iowa jury on Friday found Cristhian Rivera guilty of murdering slain jogger, Mollie Tibbetts. Under state law, he’ll be sentenced to life in prison.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, 20-year-old Tibbetts was out for a jog in Brooklyn, Iowa, in July 2018, and was never seen alive again. Rivera later told investigators that he spotted Tibbetts jogging near Middle and Boundary Streets, and 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, Tibbetts told the suspect she would call 911, then pulled out her phone, according to Bahena Rivera’s 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 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 Tibbetts’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 Tibbetts inside, with one side of her head bloodied, according to the affidavit. The suspect said he pulled Tibbetts out of the trunk and dragged her by foot into a secluded area in the woods.
Rivera then tossed Tibbetts 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.
On Wednesday, Rivera took the stand and changed his story. He now claims two armed men kidnapped him and forced Tibbetts into the trunk of his car. The jury disagreed.
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[Feature Photo: Mollie Tibbetts/Handout]