IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Two childhood mates named by protection attorneys as alternate suspects within the killing of College of Iowa pupil Mollie Tibbetts mentioned Friday that they had nothing to do with the crime.
Legal professionals for Cristhian Bahena Rivera, the person convicted of killing Tibbetts, named Gavin Jones and Dalton Hansen as maybe liable for Tibbetts’ 2018 stabbing loss of life in courtroom filings this week.
They made that assertion after inmate Arne Maki got here ahead in Could to say Jones informed him that Jones and Hansen killed Tibbetts after she was kidnapped and briefly held at a house used for intercourse trafficking. Jones’ ex-girlfriend got here ahead independently the identical day to say that Jones, 21, additionally informed her that he killed Tibbetts.
A prosecutor mentioned in courtroom Thursday that there’s “zero” proof to substantiate Jones’ alleged confessions and that there ought to be little question Bahena Rivera killed Tibbetts.
Reached by cellphone individually Friday by The Related Press, Jones and Hansen mentioned that they had no involvement in Tibbetts’ disappearance from her hometown of Brooklyn, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Iowa Metropolis, or her violent loss of life. They mentioned they hadn’t spoken with investigators however have been keen to take action as a way to clear their names.
“The cops haven’t talked to me. Nobody has talked to me. You’re the first person who has known as me,” mentioned Jones, of Oskaloosa. “I wasn’t concerned in something. I’ve alibis and every thing. I’m simply ready for somebody to come back discuss to me.”
He ended the interview with out answering whether or not he had made prior statements about Tibbetts’ loss of life.
The 24-year-old Hansen, of Sigourney, mentioned allegations that he was concerned in Tibbetts’ loss of life are “loopy” and beginning to unfold on-line.
“I’ve no clue why my identify even obtained introduced up with this,” Hansen mentioned.
Jurors convicted Bahena Rivera in Could after a two-week trial throughout which prosecutors argued that the 27-year-old farmhand stalked and approached Tibbetts whereas she was out for a night run. They mentioned he killed her after she threatened to name police and dumped her physique in a cornfield.
Bahena Rivera claimed in his courtroom testimony that two masked males broke into his trailer and compelled him to drive them round at gunpoint. He mentioned they stumbled on Tibbetts, and that one among them stabbed her to loss of life and loaded her physique in his automobile’s trunk earlier than instructing him to eliminate it.
Maki and Jones’ ex-girlfriend got here ahead later that day to inform authorities about Jones’ alleged confessions, which Maki thought have been bluster till listening to Bahena Rivera’s testimony.
The protection argues that their testimony may have modified the responsible verdict, and Decide Joel Yates agreed to delay Bahena Rivera’s sentencing whereas he considers whether or not to order a brand new trial.
Yates on Friday denied the protection’s request to order prosecutors to show over details about prior intercourse trafficking investigations within the space, saying that might be “nothing greater than a fishing expedition.”
Hansen mentioned he and Jones grew up collectively within the small city of Sigourney and have been mates on and off till about two years in the past. He mentioned that like Jones, he was housed on the Keokuk County jail similtaneously Maki however didn’t know him nicely.
Hansen and Jones each mentioned that they’d by no means heard of a 50-year-old man who protection attorneys have instructed might have additionally been concerned within the case.
Bahena Rivera legal professional Chad Frese mentioned he wasn’t stunned by the denials and famous that Jones and Hansen have prison data involving different violent crimes.
“They don’t seem to be going to face up and say they did it,” he mentioned.