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Prosecutors file resistance to motion to suppress in Mollie Tibbets murder case

POWESHIEK COUNTY, Iowa (KTIV) – Prosecutors are asking a Poweshiek County judge to deny a motion to suppress evidence and the confession of the man charged in the death of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts.

Cristhian Rivera has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of the 20-year-old Tibbetts.

In early March, Rivera’s defense filed a motion to suppress, claiming authorities didn’t Mirandize Rivera at the beginning of an interview at the Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Office on August 20, and that his statement to officers as a whole was involuntary.


In addition, his defense is asking to suppress evidence found in his vehicle, claiming the consent provided to search his vehicle was invalid.

Tibbetts went missing July 18 after going for a jog in her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa. Her body was found August 21 in a rural area outside Brooklyn.

Prosecutors say surveillance video obtained by law enforcement on August 15, 2018, shows a black Chevy Malibu near Tibbetts several times during her run on Boundry Street in Brooklyn. On August 16, 2018, a Poweshiek County Sheriff’s deputy saw Rivera driving the vehicle.


Four days later on August 20, 2018, Rivera was contacted at Yarrabee Farms where he was employed. Authorities found the Malibu on the farm’s property. According to their filing on Friday, prosecutors claim Rivera offered written and oral consent in Spanish to a search of the vehicle.

According to prosecutors, blood was found in the trunk of the vehicle. They say DNA analysis confirmed the blood was that of Tibbetts.

According to their filing Friday, prosecutors claim Miranda warnings were not read at the beginning of the interview shortly after 5 p.m. on August 20, 2018, because Rivera was not in custody. Prosecutors say Miranda warnings were read to Rivera at 11:30 p.m. that day. Rivera was arrested a day later.

Rivera’s trial is set to begin on September 3 in Woodbury County. In late March, a Poweshiek County judge approved the move to Woodbury County after prosecutors said selecting a fair and impartial jury in Poweshiek County wasn’t reasonable.

Blake Branch

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