Mollie Tibbetts trial verdict live – Cristhian Rivera decision almost in after girl stabbed to death and dumped in field

MOLLIE Tibbetts' mobile phone, her Fitbit, and the "murder" weapon allegedly used to stab her to death have all never been found, the trial heard today.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera stands accused of killing the jogger with a "sharp object" believed to be a knife – but Special Agent Trent Vileta said the weapon has not been discovered.

"When asked about whether investigators were able to find a murder weapon in the death of #MollieTibbetts, Vileta says, 'No we weren't,'" a reporter noted of the case on Twitter.

While questioned in a cornfield, Rivera allegedly told Iowa officer Pamela Romero that he followed Tibbetts in his car, got out and started running behind her.

The 26-year-old told cops that Mollie Tibbetts "tried to slap him and was screaming at him," a cop has testified.

Rivera said that Tibbetts noticed him and tried to use her cell phone to call police.

“He said that Mollie tried to slap him and was screaming at him,” Romero testified. “Mr Rivera said this is when he became angry.”

Blood found in the suspect's Chevy Malibu trunk "was a first match" for the slain student a forensics expert testified last week.

Tara Scott, a criminalist in the DNA section of Iowa's crime lab, said she analyzed a swab taken from a blood stain found on the trunk seal after investigators recovered Tibbetts' body.

"The profile I had from Mollie Tibbetts and the profile from that blood matched," Scott testified. "They were exactly the same."

Rivera, 26, has been charged with first-degree murder in Tibbetts' stabbing death. He has pleaded not guilty.

Tibbetts, 20, vanished while out running on July 18, 2018, in Brooklyn, Iowa.


Investigators recovered her partially naked, decomposing body from a cornfield a month later.

During the interrogation, Rivera led police to the cornfield where her body was found, telling them, "I brought you here, didn’t I? So that means that I did it."

The defense, who presented the interrogation video as evidence, argued that Rivera appeared to be asleep during part of the questioning.

Pamela Romero, who interrogated Rivera, said on the witness stand that she was not aware Rivera was asleep, but a look at the interrogation transcript showed she had told the accused man, "You fell asleep."

The trial continues.

  • Julia Fields

    WHAT IS DALTON JACK'S ALIBI?

    Rivera's attorneys have tried to arouse questions about Tibbett’s boyfriend Dalton Jack.

    Jack, 23, now an Army sergeant stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, admitted he cheated on Tibbetts once in the past. 

    "I was 19 years old, it was the beginning of our relationship, I screwed up one time. Mollie knew about it and we got past it," Jack said under questioning during the trial.

    Police already scratched the idea of Jack being a suspect after establishing he had an alibi while working out of town on the day she was suspected of being killed.

    Mollie, who was studying psychology, was reportedly housesitting for Jack and his older brother Blake as they were out of town on separate construction jobs.

  • Julia Fields

    ATTORNEYS AROUSE QUESTIONS ABOUT MOLLIE'S BOYFRIEND

    Rivera's attorneys have tried to arouse questions about Tibbett’s boyfriend Dalton Jack.

    Jack, 23, now an Army sergeant stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, admitted he cheated on Tibbetts once in the past. 

    "I was 19 years old, it was the beginning of our relationship, I screwed up one time. Mollie knew about it and we got past it," Jack said under questioning during the trial.

  • Julia Fields

    DOES RIVERA CLAIM TO KNOW THE MEN WHO FORCED HIM TO KILL JOGGER?

    During his shocking testimony inside a courtroom at the Scott County Courthouse in Davenport, Rivera explained how the monstrous pair ordered him into his car and to drive, according to the Associated Press. 

    While on the road, Rivera said the men spotted Tibbets jogging and he said they directed him to hit the brakes, the AP reported.

    After stopping, Rivera recalled how one of the men exited the car wielding a knife and headed down the rural road. 

    About 10 minutes elapsed before the second masked man lost his nerve waiting in the car and allegedly said, “Come on, Jack,” the accused said during the court hearing.

    Rivera claimed the two men were complete strangers.

  • Julia Fields

    WHAT SENTENCE DOES RIVERA FACE?

    The MAN on trial for the savage murder of Mollie Tibbetts testified that two armed men wearing masks forced him at gunpoint to aid in ending her life.

    Cristhian Bahena Rivera claimed two men wearing stocking caps showed up at his trailer home after he had finished showering and ordered him to drive them in his car.

    The 26-year-old Mexican national who came illegally to the US as a teen, was called by the defense to testify on his own behalf as he stands accused of murdering the University of Iowa student in 2018 and dumping her slashed body in a remote cornfield.

    If convicted, Rivera faces life in prison.

  • Julia Fields

    RIVERA CLAIMS TWO MEN FORCED HIM TO KILL JOGGER

    Cristhian Bahena Rivera claimed two men wearing stocking caps showed up at his trailer home after he had finished showering and ordered him to drive them in his car.

    During his shocking testimony inside a courtroom at the Scott County Courthouse in Davenport, Rivera explained how the monstrous pair ordered him into his car and to drive, according to the Associated Press. 

    While on the road, Rivera said the men spotted Tibbets jogging and he said they directed him to hit the brakes, the AP reported.

    After stopping, Rivera recalled how one of the men exited the car wielding a knife and headed down the rural road. 

    About 10 minutes elapsed before the second masked man lost his nerve waiting in the car and allegedly said, “Come on, Jack,” the accused said during the court hearing.

  • Mollie Mansfield

    RIVERA SAID HE WAS NOT TRUTHFUL WHEN HE WAS QUESTIONED

    Bahena Rivera said he wasn’t truthful when detectives began questioning him about Tibbetts’ disappearance on August 20 2018 because he was worried about his daughter’s safety.

    Back then, he said he had approached Tibbetts as she ran, fought with her after she threatened to call police and then “blacked out” before hiding her body.

    He said he agreed to lead investigators to Tibbetts’ body early the next day because he was tired and wanted the interrogation to end.

    And he said police had urged him to “put myself in the family’s position and to think of” how he would feel if his daughter was missing.

  • Mollie Mansfield

    'COVERED BODY IN STALKS'

    Rivera said he opened the trunk a few minutes later and found Tibbetts’ body, which he said was heavy as he carried it to the cornfield.

    He said he covered her body with corn stalks because “I didn’t want her to be too exposed to the sun,” and that he then left and never planned to discuss what had happened again.

    Bahena Rivera said he left Tibbetts’ phone, Fitbit and earbuds on the side of the road.

  • Mollie Mansfield

    'MEN LOADED SOMETHING IN MY TRUNK,' RIVERA CLAIMED

    Bahena Rivera said the men loaded something into his trunk, directed him to drive several miles to a rural area, turn off the car, wait a few minutes and leave.

    They said they knew his ex-girlfriend and young daughter, and that they would harm them if he ever told anyone what happened, he said.

    Bahena Rivera said the men took off on foot down the road and he never saw them again.

  • Mollie Mansfield

    'ONE OF THE MASKED MEN SAID "COME ON JACK",' RIVERA CLAIMED

    Bahena Rivera, 26, said a man with a knife got out of the car and walked down the rural road.

    The man was gone for about 10 minutes as the second man in the back seat of the car grew nervous, saying, “Come on, Jack,” he claimed.

    The defendant said he didn’t know the men’s identities, but his lawyers have tried to raise suspicions about Tibbetts’ boyfriend, Dalton Jack, who admitted to an affair with another woman and past anger problems.

    Police said they cleared Jack as a suspect after establishing he was out of town for work that day.

  • Mollie Mansfield

    'ARMED MEN WHO HAD FACES COVERED WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR CRIME'

    Bahena Rivera said two armed men who were wearing black and had their faces covered by stocking caps showed up at his trailer after he finished showering that evening.

    The men directed him to get in his car and drive, and they passed Tibbetts as she ran several times before directing him to stop, he said.

    Bahena Rivera, 26, said a man with a knife got out of the car and walked down the rural road.

  • Mollie Mansfield

    'BODY ENDED UP IN HIS CAR'

    While Rivera took to the stand yesterday, he acknowledged that Tibbetts ended up in his car’s trunk, that he hid her body in a cornfield and that he told investigators where to find it a month later.

    But the farm laborer presented a far different narrative about what happened than prosecutors did, denying that he was responsible for the stab wounds to Tibbetts’ head, neck and chest that caused her death.

  • Mollie Mansfield

    SUSPECT BLAMED MYSTERY MEN FOR RUNNER'S SLAYING

    The man on trial for the 2018 abduction and stabbing death of a University of Iowa student claimed for the first time on Wednesday that two masked men were responsible for the crime but forced him to take part at gunpoint.

    In a surprise development, the defense called Cristhian Bahena Rivera as a witness at his first-degree murder trial.

    He admitted that his black car was the one seen on surveillance video circling Mollie Tibbetts while she was jogging in Brooklyn, Iowa, on July 18, 2018.

  • Mollie Mansfield

    JURORS MAKING DECISION

    Just before 2pm ET, jurors were sent off to lunch and then to start deliberating the case.

    It is unclear how long the jury will take to make a decision on Rivera's fate.

    Judge Joel Yates told the court room: "Understand that we may need you back to join in the deliberations."

  • Mollie Mansfield

    CLOSING ARGUMENTS REVEALED

    The closing arguments on the Mollie Tibbetts case were made on Thursday morning.

    "Mollie's no longer on this planet because of the defendant," Prosecutor Scott Brown said.

    He added that he believes Cristhian Rivera is guilty and that is the only decision jurors should make.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    WHERE DID MOLLIE TIBBETTS GO TO SCHOOL?

    Mollie Tibbetts, 20, was a college student at the University of Iowa, majoring in psychology.

    She worked at a children's day camp at Grinnell Regional Medical Center and was preparing for her sophomore year in college when she disappeared.

    Her goal was reportedly to become a child psychologist.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    WHO ARE MOLLIE TIBBETT'S PARENTS?

    Mollie Tibbetts' parents are Rob Tibbetts and Laura Calderwood.

    Her parents have two sons, Scott and Jake Tibbetts, as well.

    Mollie went missing during her routine jog in Brooklyn, Iowa on July 18, 2018.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    RIVERA ALLEGEDLY THOUGHT TIBBETTS WAS 'HOT'

    Cristhian Bahena Rivera denied he had ever seen Mollie Tibbetts when he was first interrogated a month after her disappearance from her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa, officer Pamela Romero testified.

    Bahena Rivera eventually admitted that he had driven past Tibbetts three times while she was jogging on July 18, 2018, and described her as “attractive” and “hot,” Romero said.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    MOLLIE TIBBETTS BOYFRIEND DESCRIBED HER AS 'HAPPY'

    Mollie's boyfriend, Dalton Jack, 23, now an Army sergeant stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, testified that he met Tibbetts at high school and had been dating her for three years when she was killed.

    He described her as “happy, bubbly, goofy,” saying she liked to have fun and that she went jogging most days before her death.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    MOLLIE'S AUNT DOESN'T WANT 'RACISM AND HATE' BROUGHT INTOHER DEATH

    Mollie Tibbetts' aunt asked the public on social media not to turn her murder and "movement" into "something ugly".

    Billie Jo Calderwood wrote on Facebook: "Please remember, Evil comes in EVERY color.

    "Our family has been blessed to be surrounded by love, friendship and support throughout this entire ordeal by friends from all different nations and races."

    She also reposted another sentiment that read, "Please do not compound the atrocity of what happened to her by adding racism and hate to the equation. …"

    "Do not turn #molliesmovement into something ugly."

  • Jocelyn Cook

    RIVERA ALLEGEDLY LED AUTHORITIES TO MOLLIE TIBBETTS' BODY

    Investigators say Cristhian Bahena Rivera led them to the cornfield where Mollie Tibbetts' body was found in the early morning of Aug 21, 2018.

    He said he didn't remember how he killed Tibbetts but that he hid her bloody body in the field underneath cornstalks, former officer Pamela Romero testified in court.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    WHAT IS RIVERA CHARGED WITH?

    Cristhian Bahena Rivera is charged with first-degree murder for the 2018 slaying of 20-year-old University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts.

    His trial began last week and is expected to continue over the next few days.

    Rivera is participating in the trial through a Spanish-speaking interpreter.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    DEFENSE SAYS JURY'S HEART 'SHOULD BREAK' FOR TIBBETTS

    Defense attorney Jennifer Freese called for justice for Cristhian Bahena Rivera during her opening statements on Day 5 of his trial.

    “Your heart should break for Mollie Tibbetts,” she told the court.

    "Your heart should break for her family. Mollie Tibbetts deserves justice."

    "Her family deserves justice, but so does Cristhian Bahena Rivera."

  • Jocelyn Cook

    DNA EXPERT SAYS TIBBETTS BLOOD CLEARLY FOUND IN TRUNK

    DNA expert Dr. Michael Spense took the witness stand for the defense on Tuesday.

    Spense testified that there were 17 unaccounted for alleles on the trunk liner of the black Chevrolet Malibu Bahena Rivera drove, including female DNA not belonging to Tibbetts, KCCI reported.

    Spense stated that Tibbetts’ DNA was clearly found in the trunk during cross-examination.

    He did not disagree with the finding that her blood was in the trunk.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    WHY WAS THE TIBBETTS TRIAL MOVED?

    The trial was moved about 100 miles from Poweshiek County to Scott County after defense lawyers said residents around the small town of Brooklyn had strong opinions about Cristhian Bahena Rivera's guilt.

    The trial began on May 19 and is expected to last two weeks.

    The defense gave their opening statements on Tuesday.

  • Jocelyn Cook

    TIBBETTS' CLOTHES FOUND 34FT AWAY FROM BODY

    Mollie Tibbetts' body was found about 400 feet from the road in the field near the town Guernsey and almost at the Iowa County line.

    Black shorts, a possible headband, and "striped" underwear were also found some 34feet away from Tibbetts by investigators, crime scene investigator Amy Johnson said.

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