Mollie Tibbetts murder trial: Jury finds Cristhian Bahena Rivera guilty

The verdict was announced Friday afternoon after a two-week trial in Davenport, Iowa, in which Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 26, faced the first-degree murder charge for which he was convicted.

Jurors reached their decision after deliberating for just over seven and a half hours.

Excluding the alternates, the jurors ranged in age from 19 a 71. The panel was made up of five females and seven males, of which three were of Hispanic descent and nine were White.

During closing arguments, prosecutors urged the jury to convict Bahena Rivera, 26, for the death of the University of Iowa student, citingoverwhelming evidencethat tied him to the killing.

The defense rested its case Wednesday after Bahena Rivera testified that two men killed Tibbetts and forced him to transport her body in his car.

Prosecutor Scott Brown called Bahena Rivera’s testimonya figment of his imagination.He argued that Bahena Rivera drove past Tibbetts, 20, as she was running on July 18, 2018 in Brooklyn, Iowa and made advances towards her.

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When she rebuffed him, he got angry, Brown said.

The way he reacts with that anger is to stab this young woman to death and to dump her body in a cornfield,” he told the jury.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera listens to court proceedings in his trial on Monday in the Scott County Courthouse, in Davenport, Iowa. Defense lawyers argued that Bahena Rivera is a hard-working, family-centered immigrant from Mexico who was pressured into making a false confession in connection with the death of Mollie Tibbetts in July 2018. (Kelsey Kremer/The Des Moines Register via AP, Pool)

Cristhian Bahena Rivera listens to court proceedings in his trial on Monday in the Scott County Courthouse, in Davenport, Iowa. Defense lawyers argued that Bahena Rivera is a hard-working, family-centered immigrant from Mexico who was pressured into making a false confession in connection with the death of Mollie Tibbetts in July 2018. (Kelsey Kremer/The Des Moines Register via AP, Pool)

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