The man charged in the killing of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, an illegal alien, has requested that that jury selection for the September trial be moved to a county with a Hispanic majority.
In a motion filed by Bahena-Rivera’s attorneys and obtained by the Des Moines Register, the illegal alien requests that the jury selection be moved out of Poweshiek County — where the alleged murder took place — to a county in Iowa with a larger Hispanic population.
“Without venue where a minority population is substantially represented, [Bahena-Rivera] cannot be fairly tried and any jury pool chosen will have to be stricken,” the motion states, asking that the illegal alien’s Mexican nationality be taken into consideration when picking a new county for jury selection.
Bahena-Rivera’s attorneys claim “a fair and impartial trial cannot be preserved with a jury selected from [Poweshiek] county,” due to alleged negative perceptions of the Hispanic community in the area, the attorneys write citing online comments from news stories with no verification of whether the commenters live in the county.
The defense is also wanting to move jury selection to a minority-majority region because they claim Hispanic witnesses are concerned for their safety about testifying on Bahena-Rivera’s behalf.
“These individuals fear reprisals from locals who hold strong opinions concerning Latinos following [Rivera] being charged,” the defense attorneys write.
The illegal alien’s attorneys said widespread media coverage of Tibbetts’ alleged murder and national attention surrounding the case helped to “further fanning the flames of prejudice and jeopardizing the fairness of these proceedings against [Bahena-Rivera],” and therefore the jury selection should be moved to a more Hispanic dominated county.
“The death of Ms. Tibbetts, it can be seen from this group, still very much remains in the forefront of the Poweshiek County community members’ minds,” the defense attorneys write.
The request to move jury selection to a minority-majority county is just the latest plea that Bahena-Rivera has made to the court. As Breitbart News reported, the illegal alien had initially requested that he not be called an “illegal alien” and his attorneys have said that he has a “constitutional right” to receive $5,000 in state taxpayer money to hire an independent investigative team for his defense.