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Bahena Rivera gives bombshell testimony at his own trial

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 6:25 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The man charged in the 2018 stabbing death of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts took the stand today to testify in his own trial.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera, who stands charged with first degree murder, stated during his testimony on Wednesday afternoon that he did not give police the full story of what really happened on July 18, 2018.

He stated that he found two masked men with a gun and a knife standing in his living room. The men told him “not to do anything stupid,” and then ordered him to get into his car and start driving towards the town of Brooklyn, and told him to stop near where Mollie was jogging.

Bahena Rivera said one of the men got out of the car and was gone for 10 to 12 minutes. When he came back, he allegedly put something into the trunk.

The two men then told Bahena Rivera to keep driving. Eventually arriving at the cornfield where Mollie was found. Once they were there, Bahena Rivera states they warned him not to say anything, that they “knew Iris and they knew [his] daughter, that is [he] said anything they would take care of them.”

That’s when Bahena Rivera stated that he retrieved Mollie’s body from the trunk and covered it with corn stalks.

During cross examination the prosecution questioned Bahena Rivera’s story by recalling former police officer Pamela Romero’s testiony. Romero was part of the initial interview that led to Bahena Rivera’s confession.

“You told Officer Romero you confronted Mollie Tibbetts on 395th street, is that correct?” said prosecutor Scott Brown.

“Yes,” replied Bahena Rivera.

Brown then asked, “you never mention two other men is that true?”

“Correct,” stated Bahena Rivera.

“You told Officer Romero that you were angry with Mollie Tibbets, is that true?” asked Brown.

Bahena Rivera replied, “I think so.”

When asked why he didn’t call police during the incident, Bahena Rivera stated that he was scared for his family’s safety.

Court is currently in recess and will continue Thursday with closing arguments.

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