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Judge hears arguments over evidence in Tibbetts case

MONTEZUMA — A judge is deciding what evidence may be presented when former farmhand Cristhian Bahena Rivera stands trial in February for the July 2018 murder of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts.

On Wednesday, prosecutors argued that testimony Rivera gave during an interview in August 2018 should be used at trial–even though an Iowa City Police officer who was assisting in the case didn’t properly read Rivera his Miranda rights. Pamela Romero testified she gave the Miranda warning from memory, instead of reading it from a card.

Earlier in the day, an agent from the Division of Criminal Investigation testified that investigators would have found Tibbetts’ body without Rivera’s help. Trent Vileta said farmers in the field or searchers from a helicopter would have spotted Tibbetts’ bright pink running shoes. The 20-year-old University of Iowa student disappeared while jogging in her hometown of Brooklyn in July 2018. Her body was found a month later in a cornfield.

Defense attorneys will make their case Thursday in Poweshiek County Court.



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