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Motion for court to hear new evidence in Cristhian Bahena Rivera case is denied

A motion for the court to consider new evidence relating to the murder of Mollie Tibbetts has been denied.

MONTEZUMA, Iowa — A motion for the court to consider new evidence in the Cristhian Bahena Rivera case has been­ denied.

Defense team Chad and Jennifer Frese filed a motion to compel on Tuesday, July 13. Their motion aimed to utilize information from two unrelated people who had come forward while Bahena Rivera was being tried for the murder of Mollie Tibbetts, who was found dead in a cornfield in August of 2018. 

RELATED: Mollie Tibbetts murder: Defense motions for new trial

In May of 2021 a jury found Bahena Rivera guilty of first-degree murder. 

The motion, which was filed two days before Bahena Rivera was set to be sentenced, focused on a man allegedly involved in a sex trafficking ring in the town of New Sharon, Iowa.  

In court Thursday, the defense argued that further discovery in Bahena Rivera's case should be made.  They asked for the state to produce evidence regarding sex trafficking in Poweshiek County, where the crime happened, as well as pending investigations that involve the story of a Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility inmate the defense says has more information about Tibbetts' killing.

Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown rejected this proposal, saying in court that there was no obligation to provide discovery after a trial is complete.

Judge Joel Yates denied the motion on Friday, writing that in addition to bearing no obligation to provide discovery at this time, “the request is overly broad” and doesn’t have enough of a connection to Bahena Rivera.

“Further those investigations are likely to contain confidential information about a variety of people and (Cristhian Bahena Rivera’s) examination of those investigations would be nothing more than a fishing expedition," read the denial. 

The court will meet again on July 27 for a hearing on the defense’s motion for a new trial.


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