Two childhood friends named by defense attorneys as alternate suspects in murder of University of Iowa student Molly Tibbets Said on Friday that he had nothing to do with the crime.
lawyers As for Cristian Bahena Rivera, the man convicted of Tibet’s murder blamed Gavin Jones and Dalton Hansen for Tibet’s 2018 stabbing death in court filings this week.
In May, he appeared before prisoner Arne Maki, claiming that Jones told him that Jones and Hansen killed Tibet after being kidnapped and kept briefly in a house used for sex trafficking. Jones’ ex-girlfriend came forward freely the same day and said that 21-year-old Jones also told her that he killed Tibet.
A prosecutor told court on Thursday that there is “zero” evidence to prove Jones’ alleged confession and that there should be no doubt that Bahena Rivera killed Tibet.
Reached by the Associated Press on separate phones Friday, Jones and Hansen said they had no involvement in the disappearance from their hometown of Tibet. Brooklyn about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Iowa City, or his violent death. He said he has not spoken to investigators, but is eager to do so to clear his name.
“The police haven’t spoken to me. No one has talked to me. You’re the first person to call me,” said Jones of Oscalosa. “I wasn’t involved in anything. I have alibis and all. I’m just waiting for someone to talk to me.”
He ended the interview without answering whether he had made any prior statements about Tibet’s death.
Hansen, 24, of Sigourney, said allegations that he was involved in Tibet’s death are “crazy” and are starting to spread online.
“I have no clue why my name was even brought up with it,” Hansen said.
Jurors pleaded guilty in May after a two-week trial during which prosecutors argued that the 27-year-old farmhand pursued and contacted Tibet while she was out for an evening run. He said he killed her after threatening to call the police and dumping her body in a corn field.
Bahena Rivera claimed in her courtroom testimony that two masked men broke into her trailer and forced her to turn her around at gunpoint. He said they came to Tibet, and one of them stabbed him to death and dumped his body before instructing him to load it in the trunk of his car.
Maki and Jones’ ex-girlfriend came forward later that day to tell officers about Jones’ alleged confession, which Maki shrugged off until hearing Bahena Rivera’s testimony.
The defense argues that his testimony could have changed the verdict of guilty, and Judge Joello yates Bahena agrees to delay Rivera’s sentencing while he considers whether to order a new trial.
Yates on Friday rejected the defense’s request to order prosecutors to provide information about prior sex trafficking investigations in the area, saying it would be “nothing more than a fishing expedition.”
Hansen said she and Jones grew up together in the small town of Sigourney and were friends until about two years ago. He said that like Jones, he was incarcerated in the Keokuk County Jail along with Maki, but he did not know them well.
Both Hansen and Jones said they had never heard of the 50-year-old man, who has been suggested by defense lawyers that he may also be involved in the case.
Bahena Riviera Attorney Chad Freese said he was not surprised by the denials and added that Jones and Hansen’s criminal records are linked to other violent crimes.
“They’re not going to stand up and say they did it,” he said.