A judge rejected the claims that Mollie Tibbetts was killed as part of a sex-trafficking ring, paving the way for the sentencing of her killer.
On Aug. 2, an Iowa judge rejected a request for a new trial for Christian Bahena Rivera and set his sentencing for later this month, according to online court records. Because of Iowa law, Rivera will be sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder of Tibbetts.
Rivera was convicted at a trial, but when he testified, he spoke of two masked men who forced him to participate in the murder of the University of Iowa student.
Tibbetts went missing in July 2018 from her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa, as she went out for a run. A massive manhunt ensued to find her, and it wasn’t until Rivera confessed and led police to her body that her remains were discovered.
Tibbetts was left in a cornfield and there was evidence of a sexual assault.
Rivera’s defense attorneys asked for a new trial after they said jailhouse snitches came forward to support Rivera’s testimony. The snitch reported another inmate told him that he killed Tibbetts and she was taken during a sex-trafficking operation.
The other inmate denied any involvement in the case.
Defense attorneys made their case last week over the new evidence and why Rivera should get a new trial.
In his ruling, the judge noted that much of the new evidence contradicted what was presented at trial, according to the Associated Press.