Mollie Tibbetts murder trial moved to Sioux City in Woodbury County

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POWESHEIK COUNTY, Iowa — The trial of the man accused of killing 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts will likely be moved out of Poweshiek County.

Cristhian Rivera is charged with first degree murder in Tibbetts’ death. She disappeared while jogging in Brooklyn, Iowa on July 18th, 2018.

He has requested the trial be moved due to “extensive and pervasive” pretrial publicity.

Monday, the state responded to the motion and agreed the trial should be moved. The response said, “The death of Mollie Tibbetts has touched many of the residents of Poweshiek County and her death has significantly and emotionally affected many of the residents of the county and prospective jurors making it extremely difficult to obtain a fair and impartial jury.”

The state also addressed the issue of Rivera’s immigration status, “The Defendant claims in his motion to be a ‘Mexican National’ and that because of his immigration status and country of origin he has been subjected to more scrutiny and undue prejudice making the likelihood of an impartial jury less likely.”

Rivera’s trial is scheduled to start in September.

A change of venue hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.


UPDATE: According to online court records, Cristhian Rivera’s trial will be moved to Sioux City in Woodbury County. The trial remains set for September 3, 2019.

Sara Belmont

Sara Belmont

Assistant News Director at KWWL
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