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Lawyers of man accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts want trial moved out of county

MONTEZUMA – The man accused of killing a 20-year-old University of Iowa student is now requesting his trial be moved out of the county.
Cristhian_Rivera_in_court_for_arraignmen_0_20180919220554

MONTEZUMA – The man accused of killing a 20-year-old University of Iowa student is now requesting his trial be moved out of the county.

Cristhian Rivera’s lawyers filed a motion on Friday seeking the move out of Poweshiek County because the case had gotten too much national attention and public reaction. 

Mollie Tibbetts was reported missing on July 19, 2018, from the town of Brooklyn while she was out running. Rivera allegedly told police he followed Tibbetts in his car while she was jogging in town, then got out and started running beside her. According to a criminal complaint, Rivera confessed to police that he blacked out and that, sometime after, he remembered Tibbetts’ body was in his car. Rivera told police that he hauled Tibbetts’ body into a cornfield and covered it with stalks. 

Rivera’s legal team cited how Tibbetts’ hometown of Brooklyn knows about the case and pointed to a “Remembering Mollie Tibbetts” Facebook page and numerous news stories filed during the month-plus spent looking for her. 

The legal team also cited potential witnesses, many of whom have Latino heritage who would “relay a genuine fear and apprehension for offering testimony or cooperating with any investigation.”

Rivera’s legal team is asking for the venue where the “minority population is substantially represented.”

Rivera was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in August. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in September during his initial court appearance. His trial was already pushed back until September.