The man accused of kidnapping and brutally murdering Mollie Tibbetts confessed at trial that he hired an illegal human trafficker to smuggle him into the United States, Your Content has learned.
In a surprise move, Cristhian Bahena Rivera answered questions through a translator from his defense attorney Jennifer Frese in Scott County District Court.
“Now sir at some point in time you decided to come to the United States is that right?” Jennifer Frese, lawyer for accused killer Cristina Bahema Rivera asked.
“Si,” Bahema Rivera quipped.
Bahema Rivera testified in his own defense in a Davenport, Iowa, courtroom and detailed the never-before-heard scenario of the 2018 slaying that sent shockwaves across the nation.
Bahema Rivera further testified that he “had just turned seventeen years old” when he was snuck into the United States, which the suspected killer said entailed ‘crossing the border.’
“Do you have to hire someone to help you?” asked Frese.
“Si,” Bahema Rivera said, claiming a shady figure known as a “coyote.”
Bahema Rivera said he met the “coyote” at the “Texas border” to later “cross the river — on an inflatable raft — with nine or ten people.”
After spending some nights in a Houston-area hotel, it was then that Bahema Rivera “arrived in the state of Iowa.”
What’s more, Bahema Rivera claims he did not refer to Mollie Tibbetts as “hot,” testifying he called her “guapa,” which translates to “pretty” in English.
“You described Mollie Tibbetts at hot,” said defense attorney Jennifer Frese, noting Bahema Rivera “took issue” with the phrasing.
“The word I used was Guapa — good looking, not hot,” explained Bahema Rivera.
“You better spell that,” the judge said.
“Sir what do you take Guapa to mean?” Frese asked. “Pretty.” Bahema Rivera replied.
The suspected murderer testified that on July 18, 2018, the day Tibbetts went missing, he emerged from taking a shower at the trailer where he lived and found two strangers in his living room, ABC News reported.
As Your Content readers know, The man on trial for the 2018 murder of Mollie Tibbetts testified for the first time in an Iowa courtroom on Wednesday.
If convicted, Rivera faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Rivera is facing one count of first-degree murder in the July 2018 stabbing death of Tibbetts, a 20-year-old University of Iowa student, Fox News reported.
After seven days of hearing evidence and listening to testimony about a murder that rocked the American Heartland, the Scott County jury received the case and began deliberations Thursday afternoon.
The panel deliberated for a little over three hours before calling it a day and will reconvene on Friday.