The Latest: Suspect’s relatives waited during interrogation

MONTEZUMA, Iowa (AP) — The Latest on a court hearing in the case against the man charged with killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts (all times local):

12:20 p.m.

Relatives of the man suspected of killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts say they rushed to a sheriff’s office after learning he was being questioned and waited for hours without getting to speak with him.

Alejandra Cervantes Valle testified Thursday that she asked a police officer whether the family needed to call a lawyer for her nephew, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, during the August 2018 interrogation.

Valle says the officer told her that was unnecessary because they would be done in 15 minutes. The family left two hours later without any update.

Police say Rivera later led officers to a cornfield where they say he hid Tibbetts’s body beneath a pile of leaves.

Rivera’s relatives testified for the defense’s argument that his statements weren’t voluntary and should be suppressed.


10:30 a.m.

A judge won’t consider written testimony from a man who claims he was unaware of his legal rights when he allegedly confessed to killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts.

Judge Joel Yates ruled Thursday that he will not allow lawyers for Cristhian Bahena Rivera to submit a written affidavit from their client unless he agrees to submit to cross-examination by prosecutors.

Lawyers for Rivera, who is charged with murder, say they won’t allow him to testify. Yates rejected the affidavit.

Yates is considering a defense motion to suppress statements Rivera made during an interrogation in August 2018 in which he implicated himself in Tibbetts’ death. She disappeared a month earlier while running.

Rivera says in the affidavit that he was unaware of certain rights and scared to invoke others.

Categories: National News