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Mollie Tibbetts crime scene photos shown to jurors in first week of murder trial

Cristhian Bahena Rivera listens to Poweshiek County Attorney Bart Klaver give his opening statement at his trial at the Scott County Courthouse in Davenport, Iowa, on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette via AP, Pool)

OAN Newsroom
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.

FILE – In this September 2016 file photo provided by Kim Calderwood, Mollie Tibbetts poses for a picture during homecoming festivities at BGM High School in her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa. (Kim Calderwood via AP, File)

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.

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