Rapist Claims to Have No Memory of His Victim’s Death
IOWA — August 23, 2018
Scandal on surprise erupted in the court room when a Mexican immigrant accused of murdering Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts claimed to have no memory of her death.
In particular, he noted he was in an evening run five weeks ago with the 20-years-old woman and he "got mad" when she threatened to call 911, but he cannot recall what happened next, police say.
Tibbett , who went missing on 18 July, was found by investigators on Tuesday when the suspect led them to the scene.
Police say Rivera was living in the US illegally although his lawyer said his client was legal. Rivera's farm employers also confirmed he had passed an immigration background check. He resided in the area around Tibbetts' hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa for at least four years.
The farm where Rivera worked is owned by a prominent Iowa Republican's brother. Yarrabee Farms, where the suspect had been employed for four years, said in a statement he "was vetted through the government's E-Verify system, and was an employee in good standing".
Owner Dane Lang wrote that he was "shocked to hear that one of our employees was involved and is charged in this case".
According to the court data, Rivera has admitted he observed Tibbetts during her evening run while dog-sitting for her boyfriend
The investigators said that surveillance camera has shown Rivera's black Chevy Malibu "driving back and forth" near the scene where she vanished.
Rivera himself admitted following her in his car, before getting out and running "behind and alongside" woman. Then he panicked after she threatened to call the police.
He claims that he "blocked" the memory of what happened next, "which is what he does usually when he gets very upset". His memory supposedly returned as he was back behind the wheel of his car.
Then he got out of the car and checked the boot of his car, where he discovered by chance Tibbetts' body wearing exercise clothing and with blood on both sides of her head. Before that, he noticed a headphone earpiece in his lap, which is "how he realized he put her in the trunk".
Owing to his scare he said he dragged her 60ft (20m) into a secluded cornfield, and allegedly left her body face-up and covered with corn plants.
After the murder, Tibbetts' family on Wednesday said: "Our hearts are broken.
"On behalf of Mollie's entire family, we thank all of those from around the world who have sent their thoughts and prayers for our girl."
On Wednesday, a judge at Poweshiek County Court ordered the suspect held behind bars on a $5m (£4m) bail bond.
During the hearing, the suspect wore headphones to hear a Spanish-language translator and answered ‘si’ which means ‘yes’ when asked if he understood the charges.
Unconfirmed reports suggest the suspect used a stolen ID card to pass the Department of Homeland Security's E-Verify system.
The White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called the death "an unfortunate reminder of why we need to strengthen our immigration laws".
Also, there was a tweet, the White House published, about family members of Americans killed by undocumented immigrants.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump addressed the case in a video message posted on Twitter in which he attacked US immigration laws as "strictly pathetic".
"A person came in from Mexico illegally and killed — we need our immigration laws changed, we need our border laws changed," he said.
"We have the worse laws anywhere in the world," he added, before appealing for funding to erect a wall along the US-Mexico border.