Judge in Mollie Tibbitts murder case denies defense’s request for access to other investigations

Last week an judge rejected Cristhian Bahena Rivera’s attorneys request to further investigate the kidnapping and sex trafficking in the area surrounding where Mollie Tibbits in 2018 went missing, and where her body was found.

In May, Bahena had been convicted of the kidnapping and murder of 20-year-old Iowa college student, and had even been scheduled to be sentenced to life in prison on Thursday. This verdict was put on hold by the judges however, after Bahena’s attorneys had filed several motions last week. They stated that the prosecutors were withholding information, and that they even had new evidence to support their case. 

During Thursday’s hearing Bahena’s attorney’s Chad and Jennifer Fresse stated that two individuals had come forward to share that a man named Gavin Jones had confessed to the two that he was actually the one who had murdered Mollie Tibbits. They also argued that the reports also matched a sex trafficking investigation from 2019 in Mahaska County, along with the possibility that it could also be connected to the disappearance of Xavior Harrelson a Poweshiek County 11-year-old.

The judge on the case denied the motion on Friday due to the fact that he believed their claims to be “overly broad” and without connection to Bahena or Tibbett. “A motion for a new trial is not an opportunity for the Defendant to investigate third parties unassociated with this case,” Judge Joel Yates stated [USA TODAY].



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