Katherine Lam, Fox News, March 4, 2019
An illegal immigrant charged in the murder of Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student found dead in August, requested his trial to be moved to a more diverse county in the state so his jury pool has more minority representation.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera’s attorneys filed the motion Friday, arguing that existing tensions and opinions in Poweshiek County — which is the area where the crime occurred, Tibbetts grew up and Rivera lived and worked at a dairy farm — will make it hard to have a “fair and impartial trial,” the Des Moines Register reported. The attorneys asked the court to select a county that has more of a minority representation for the jury pool.
“Without venue where a minority population is substantially represented, [Rivera] cannot be fairly tried and any jury pool chosen will have to be stricken,” the motion reads.
Rivera, 24, pleaded not guilty to murder charges in September, about a month after he was arrested and Tibbetts’ body was located in a cornfield about 12 miles southeast of Brooklyn. The 20-year-old college student vanished on July 18 while going for a jog in her hometown.