UPDATED 11:08 AM PT – Sunday, May 23, 2021
Testimonies have wrapped up for the first week in the murder trial against a man charged with the kidnapping and murder of a college student back in 2018.
On Friday, DNA analysts told jurors blood that was found in the trunk of 26-year-old Christian Bahena Rivera was an exact match to the known DNA profile of Mollie Tibbets. Tara Scott announced in court, “the probability of fighting this profile in a population of unrelated individuals chosen at random would be less than one out of 8.2 nonillion.”
Tibbetts was a 20-year-old student at the University of Iowa who vanished while out for a run back in 2018. Rivera, a former farmhand, was charged with first-degree murder after confessing to kidnapping Tibbetts, stabbing her to death and later hiding her body in a cornfield.
Several dozens of investigators and members of the community searched for Tibbetts body for weeks before Rivera, a Mexican national who had illegally been living in the U.S., led police to her remains.
Rivera’s partial confession built the case, but his lawyer argues he was coerced into a confession following 11 hours of harsh interrogation techniques and sleep deprivation. However, if convicted, the former farmhand faces life in prison. In the meantime, the trial is expected to pick back up next week.