Duo named by convicted murderer claim innocence

A duo accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts during the trial of a now-convicted illegal immigrant denied any involvement in the murder this week.

Mexican national Cristhian Bahena Rivera was convicted in May of the 2018 murder of Tibbetts, 20, a University of Iowa student, in a case that became a lightning rod over the border security debate.

But his sentencing hearing this week was delayed after, among other reasons, his attorneys pinned the murder on Gavin Jones, 21, and Dalton Hansen, 24, both of Iowa, citing testimony by prison inmate Arne Maki.

Both Jones and Hansen denied the accusations Friday.

“The cops haven’t talked to me. No one has talked to me. You are the first person that has called me,” Jones told The Associated Press. “I wasn’t involved in anything. I have alibis and everything. I am just waiting for someone to come talk to me.”

Cristhian Bahena Rivera was convicted of killing  Mollie Tibbetts.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera was convicted of killing Mollie Tibbetts.

Hansen, reached separately, said: “I have no clue why my name even got brought up with this.”

Maki claimed that Jones confessed to him in prison that he and Hansen had killed Tibbetts after kidnapping her in a sex trafficking scheme at a home run by a man identified as James Manuel Lowe.

Judge Joel Yates agreed this week to delay sentencing until they’re able to schedule a hearing on a motion for a new trial. Defense lawyers accused prosecutors of failing to disclose the sex-trafficking investigation near where Tibbetts disappeared, according to ABC News.

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