First Week of Trial in Mollie Tibbetts’ Murder Wrapping Up Friday with More Testimony

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Mollie Tibbetts missing poster. (WHO-HD)

NOTE: Some evidence presented in the trial may contain graphic images.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Jurors in the murder trial of Cristhian Rivera were shown key evidence Thursday in the case from security video in Brooklyn.

Investigators say the video captured 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts jogging in Brooklyn the day she disappeared on July 18, 2018, and also featured a vehicle with distinctive features in the same area around the same time.

Prosecutors say the car was a black Chevy Malibu with chrome side mirrors and it was Rivera’s.

A key piece of evidence the jury will not get to see is the murder weapon. Prosecutors say an autopsy determined Tibbetts was stabbed up to a dozen times, but investigators were not able to find the weapon.

Former Iowa City police officer Pamela Romero, who acted as a translator, for Rivera during questioning by investigators testified Thursday that Rivera claimed to not know how Tibbetts’ body ended up in his trunk but described in detail what followed.

Defense attorney Jennifer Frese questioned Romero about her interview with Rivera.

Jennifer Frese: “He did lead you to the body… is that right?”

Pamela Romero: “Yes, he did.”

Jennifer Frese: And what he did is, he said this is…’this is where this happened’…is that right?”

Pamela Romero, “He showed me the cornfield. And he goes, ‘this is the cornfield where I came, took her out the trunk, carry her on my shoulder, went inside the cornfield, drop her on the ground, cover her with leaves and I left right away.’”

The third day of testimony began Friday morning at the Scott County Courthouse in Davenport. The trial was moved because of pre-trial publicity.  

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