2:49 PM PDT, May 26, 2021
The man on trial for the 2018 murder of University of Iowa jogger Mollie Tibbetts took the stand Wednesday and claimed in shocking testimony that two mask men killed Tibbetts and then forced him to hide her body at knifepoint.
Prosecutors say farm worker Cristhian Bahena Rivera killed 20-year-old Tibbetts while she was out jogging and hid her body in an Iowa cornfield.
Bahena Rivera, an immigrant from Mexico, testified in court via interpreter. He claimed two masked gunmen loaded Tibbetts’ body into his trunk and ordered him at knifepoint to drive out of town. Bahena Rivera said he was scared and put Tibbetts’ body in the cornfield.
Earlier Wednesday, the defense continued its efforts to cast suspicion on Tibbetts’ boyfriend, Dalton Jack. Jordan Johnson, who once dated Jack, was called to the stand. She testified that Jack reached out to her to say he was thinking of breaking up with Tibbetts.
“There was a message that said that he would break up with her,” Johnson said.
In a tense cross examination last week, Jack admitted he had been unfaithful to Tibbetts.
“It was the beginning of the relationship. I screwed up one time. Mollie knew about it and we got past it,” Jack said.
The defense has repeatedly tried to cast suspicion on Jack, but he insists he had no involvement in her death.
Bahena Rivera faces life in prison if convicted.