POWESHIEK COUNTY, Iowa (KPTM) — Lawyers for the man accused of killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts are asking to delay his murder trial now scheduled to start November 12.
They filed a motion to continue the trial on Wednesday.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera is accused of killing Tibbetts, who disappeared while out for a run July 18, 2018 in Brooklyn, Iowa. Investigators recovered her body a month later in a cornfield.
Officials believe Bahena Rivera, a Mexican national, stabbed her to death. Bahena Rivera has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
In court documents obtained by CBS2/Fox 28 News, the suspect’s lawyers, Chad and Jennifer Frese, say the State of Iowa crime lab finish testing some forensic evidence from the case on October 4.
They argue the results are critical to his defense and expert witnesses will not have enough time to look it over in time if the trial date is not pushed back.
Defense lawyers believe if the judge does not approve the delay, it will impact Bahena Rivera’s chance at getting a fair trial.
This would not be the first time his trial has been pushed back. The judge has approved two delays in 2019, once pushing it back until September of 2019 and then back to November.
The trial was also moved out Poweshiek County and will be held in Sioux City in Woodbury County.
Another hearing is scheduled for October 22 and 23 concerning the suspects motion to suppress his police interrogation from the trial.
Defense lawyers have no objection to that hearing going on as planned.
It will determine whether the suspects alleged confession should be allowed to be presented in court.
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