In 2018, 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts was murdered while out running in her hometown Brooklyn, IA. The man accused of killing her, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, a 26-year-old illegal alien working as a farmhand, is now set to be tried. Yet it seems the Associated Press is deeply concerned that the man who admitted to her murder, led the police to her body, and had her blood in the trunk of his car may not receive a fair trial because of racism.
The AP writes, “the 26-year-old Rivera will participate in the trial through a Spanish-speaking interpreter as he faces a jury likely to be predominantly white, in a state that Trump carried in the 2020 election.”
During the jury selection process for Derek Chauvin’s trial in Minnesota, the AP did not spend column inches questioning whether Chauvin would receive a fair trial based on the jury’s racial makeup and public statements from leading politicians, in a state that had been won by Joe Biden in 2020. That such factors appear to play an important role in this present trial begs a number of serious questions.
In fact, so concerned is the newswire service with Rivera’s trial status that the outlet approached a range of lawyers not associated with the case, asking each to proffer an opinion. One expressed shock that Judge Joel Yates expects jury selection to take only two days. “Trump supporters who remember his descriptions of Rivera as an ‘illegal alien’ who came from Mexico to kill ‘an incredible, beautiful young woman’ also may be blocked from hearing the case, they said,” opined another of AP’s experts.
At the heart of the issue seems to be a statement made by President Donald Trump in 2018, in which he described Tibbetts as “an incredible, beautiful young woman” and Rivera (who had admitted to the killing) as an “illegal alien.”
Already, the trial has been moved 100 miles away from Brooklyn to Scott County, after lawyers argued that residents had “strong opinions” regarding Rivera’s guilt and were nearly all “white.”
An Admitted Killer
According to investigators, Rivera, after a lengthy interrogation, confessed that he had approached Tibbetts and killed her in a “panic” after she threatened to call the police. He later led police to the body, and her blood was found in his car.
Special agent in charge at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Rick Rahn, speaking at a news conference in 2018, reported that Rivera told investigators “that Mollie grabbed ahold of her phone and said, ‘You need to leave me alone. I’m going to call the police.’ And then, she took off running, and he, in turn, chased her down.”
He continued to say that Rivera claims he “blacked out” at some point and does not remember the murder and that he “blocks out” his memory when he gets upset.
Trials more and more have become political events. What plans the defense team has for Rivera are as yet unknown, but the initial trial move combined with questioning the race of the jury suggests this legal proceeding will attempt to capture public sympathy in the currently charged climes.
Liberty Nation will keep you informed of all the latest news as this trial progresses.
Read more from Mark Angelides.