DAVENPORT, Iowa — After a two-week trial, a Scott County jury Friday convicted Cristhian Bahena Rivera of first-degree murder in the 2018 death of Mollie Tibbetts.
Jurors reached the decision after about seven hours of deliberations, hearing from more than two dozen witnesses about the night Tibbetts went missing while on a run in Poweshiek County.
After a month-long search, Bahena Rivera led investigators to her body.
Bo Reed, a juror in the trial, said he tried to keep an open mind going into deliberations.
"There's twelve, very, very different people in this deliberation room. So we all had our own thoughts and opinions about everything," Reed said. "What I really enjoyed about each one of us is we all had an open mind, we were all willing to listen to each other. And everybody got a chance to speak about their own opinion and thoughts about ... each part of the case."
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Bahena Rivera will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on July 17.
Prosecutors in the case say they expect the verdict will be appealed.
Gov. Kim Reynolds issued the following statement about the verdict:
“My heart goes out to Mollie’s family for having to endure the pain and suffering that resulted from this horrific murder. I pray that today’s verdict will not just bring justice but some sense of closure to her family and the community. There is no bringing Mollie back, but her memory will continue to live on through the happiness she brought to all who knew her.”
Watch complete trial coverage on YouTube