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An Iowa farm worker has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of college student Mollie Tibbetts.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 27, was convicted of first degree murder, kidnapping and fatally stabbing the 20-year-old psychology student at the American University of Iowa in 2018.

According to an affidavit and testimony in court, Rivera said he followed Tibbetts as she ran and, in a furious rage, he “passed out” in July 2018.

Rivera said he later remembered what happened a month later and took the police to the cornfield where Tibbetts’ body was buried. The Iowa State Medical Examiner ruled Tibbetts’ death a “homicide resulting from multiple shear injuries,” implying that she was stabbed to death.

“Mr. Rivera, I selected this particular sentence for you after considering the nature of the offense committed by you, the harm caused to the victim and the victim’s family, your need for rehabilitation and the need to protect the community against other offenses by you and others, ”Judge Joel Yates said.

In addition to the custodial sentence, Rivera was ordered to pay Tibbetts’ family $ 150,000 in restitution and denied him bail during his appeal proceedings.

Rivera’s conviction was based on surveillance footage of his vehicle, traces of his DNA found there and his confession to law enforcement in 2018.

According to law enforcement at the trial, in an interview with them in August 2018, Rivera admitted to seeing Tibbetts run, finding her attractive and following her both in his car and while walking. Rivera told authorities she threatened to call the police. After getting angry with her, he got into a fight with her. He said he had “passed out” and could not remember if he had killed Tibbetts.

However, when Rivera testified in court, he got a different account of events. He said two men armed with a knife forced him to travel to Brooklyn, Tibbetts’ hometown. He went to say that because of his immigrant status he tends to avoid law enforcement and during the interview he thought he was telling them what they wanted to hear.

Rivera, a father of 4, said he was exhausted after working 12 hours on the farm where he worked. He is said to have sent his family back to Mexico for at least $ 700 a month to support them after moving to the United States at the age of 17.

Tibbetts’ family has spoken out against using her death as an anti-immigration talking point because Rivera is an undocumented immigrant. Her father, Rob Tibbetts, said his daughter allegedly found it “deeply racist” after former President Donald Trump cited the case at a rally.

This sentiment was shared by Fox News veteran Geraldo Rivera, who told the network in 2018: “It’s a murder story, not an immigration story.”


The Independent Gt

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