The ex-farmworker convicted of murdering University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts will not face sentencing this week, a judge ruled Wednesday — after defense attorneys accused prosecutors of withholding evidence about a nearby sex trafficking “trap house” and other potential suspects.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera was expected to be sentenced to life in prison Thursday after he was convicted in May of murdering Tibbetts in summer 2018 and dumping her body in a cornfield.
Instead, Judge Joel Yates will hold a hearing on a motion for a new trial after defense lawyers accused prosecutors of failing to disclose a sex trafficking investigation near where the 20-year-old disappeared, according to ABC News.
The shocking turn of events came a week after defense attorneys asked for a new trial, claiming witnesses independently told police a man bragged to them about raping and murdering the college student and framing Bahena Rivera, the network reported.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera allegedly murdered University of Iowa student