Man convicted of murdering University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts sentenced to life in prison

MONTEZUMA, Iowa — Cristhian Bahena Rivera was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole, three months after the undocumented farm worker pleaded guilty to the 2018 slaying of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts.

>> Read more trending news

Rivera, 27, received the maximum penalty allowed under the law, NBC News reported.

Tibbetts disappeared while jogging near her home in Brooklyn, Iowa, on July 18, 2018, sparking a monthlong search that ended when Rivera, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, led investigators to a rural cornfield where they found the 20-year-old’s body with fatal stab wounds.

>> Related: Farm worker convicted in murder of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts

In a victim impact statement read aloud by a victim-witness coordinator, Tibbetts’ mother, Laura Calderwood, wrote that her words were intended to “give a voice to our daughter,” while also pondering the legacy Rivera has left for his own daughter, Paulina, KWWL reported.

“I do hope one day Paulina has the opportunity to become a mother, but how will she ever explain to her children who their grandfather is? This is the legacy you left behind for your only child Mr. Rivera. I don’t know whose situation is worse,” Calderwood wrote.

In addition to the life sentence, Judge Joel Yates also imposed a $150,000 restitution payment for Tibbetts’ family, KWWL reported.

“You and you alone forever changed the lives of those who loved Mollie Tibbetts,” Yates told Rivera during the sentencing.


On AirMy Magic 94.9 - Tampa Bay's Best Music Logo

Swimming is a great recreational sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, especially here in Florida. But it’s important to know how to be safe while you’re in the water.


Win tickets to concerts, unique experiences, great prizes and MORE!


Get weather news that matters, including forecast and radar from 10 News!



See a new furry friend up for adoption every week, brought to you by Purina Beyond!


See Danielle rap all of your favorite kid’s books!



mobile apps

Everything you love about mymagic949.com and more! Tap on any of the buttons below to download our app.

amazon alexa

Enable our Skill today to listen live at home on your Alexa Devices!