The man who allegedly killed 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts is set to be arraigned on Wednesday. According to the Des Moines Register, the arraignment is set to take place at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Poweshiek County Courthouse in Montezuma. Rivera, 24, faces charges of first-degree murder for Tibbetts’ death. He is currently being held on a $5 million bond, which can only be paid by cash.
Rivera allegedly followed Tibbetts as she jogged on the evening of July 18. At first, he followed her by car. Then he stopped his vehicle and parked it, he got out and began jogging alongside her. When Tibbetts noticed he was following her, she told him she was going to call the cops. It was at that point that Rivera allegedly got mad and panicked.
According to court documents, it was then that Rivera, “‘blocked’ his ‘memory’ which is what he does when he gets very upset. And doesn’t remember anything after that until he came to at an intersection.”
The case drew national attention even before Tibbetts’ body had been found. It was Rivera who led police to Tibbetts’ body, which investigators found in the rural town of Guernsey, located in Poweshiek County. The autopsy revealed that Tibbetts had died from “multiple sharp force injuries.”
Rivera is an immigrant who is in the country illegally. He is originally from Mexico. His lawyer, Chad Frese, says there “is a language barrier and his client has about the equivalent of a middle-school education.” Because of this, Frese is calling for an arraignment to occur in “open court rather than filing a written document so the judge can know that Bahena Rivera understands the charges against him.”
“Since this is a class A felony for a homicide, I want it to be on the record so there’s no confusion whatsoever. Because his education is about a fifth- or sixth-grade education in the country of Mexico,” said Frese.
Rivera worked at Yarrabee Farms for four years. He reportedly used an out-of-state ID to get the job. Earlier this month, the farm was visited by federal immigration officials, but so far there has been no immigration charges filed against Rivera or Yarrabee Farms. Just last month, Rivera replaced his lawyer, Allan Richards, with Chad Frese and his wife, Jennifer, according to the Des Moines Register. Rivera also requested to rescind any motions that Richards filed.
If Rivera is found guilty of first-degree murder, he will face life in prison without the possibility of parole.