Prosecutors: Cristhian Rivera wasn’t properly read Miranda rights the first time

Local News

MONTEZUMA — Prosecutors in the Cristhian Rivera case admit that the man accused of killing 20-year-old University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts was not properly read his Miranda rights while being interviewed by law enforcement.

Rivera is charged with Murder in the First Degree after Tibbetts’ body was found in a rural Iowa cornfield in August 2018, a month after she went missing while jogging.

“The State concedes that the initial Miranda warning given to the Defendant at approximately 11:30 p.m. on August 20, 2018, was incomplete in that the officer giving it inadvertently omitted informing the Defendant what he says can be used against him in court at a later time,” prosecutors wrote in a Friday court filing.

Rivera’s defense team alleges that law enforcement’s asking of leading questions is one of many reasons his interviews with police should be suppressed from being introduced at trial.

“A second complete Miranda warning was read to the Defendant in a vehicle at approximately 5:50 a.m. while at the scene near where Mollie Tibbetts’s body was located,” the filing continues. “After the second Miranda warning, the Defendant knowingly waived his Miranda rights and continued to speak with officers. Following this second warning the Defendant made numerous statements that implicate him in Mollie Tibbetts’s murder. The State asserts that the statements made following the second Miranda warning are admissible.”

A multi-day hearing is scheduled to begin October 22 to address the pending motion to suppress.

Read the full filing

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