Juror in Bahena Rivera murder trial reacts to verdict, describes case as “emotional”

Updated: May. 30, 2021 at 2:51 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KCRG) -After a two-week trial, and nearly 8 hours of jury deliberation, Cristhian Bahena Rivera was found guilty of first-degree murder for the death of Mollie Tibbetts in July 2018.

KCRG-TV9 spoke with the jury foreman for the trial, Robert Reeds from Davenport, who described the two-week process of being a juror in the high-profile case as intense and emotional.

”I believe it was emotional, I think for everybody all around, you know. Like I said, I have a daughter, there was a few folks in there that were of Hispanic descent that felt for everybody, and you know we all felt for the family, we all felt for Cristhian and his family,” says Reed. “So it did get emotional, we did get emotional, and you know, the jurors, you know, brought in and talked about their own personal stories and stuff like that, it did get emotional there were some tears were shed.”

He said he and the other jurors made sure to put those emotions to the side while making their decision.

He called Bahena Rivera’s testimony, describing his alleged interaction with the two masked men, one of the most interesting parts of the trial.

”I hadn’t heard anything about that story until that moment. We got a notebook, so we can take notes and I filled up, gosh, probably, 6 to 10 pages of notes just on that. I want to make sure that every detail because I didn’t want to miss anything on that,” Reed said.

He said there were some pieces of evidence he would have liked to see as a juror.

”If we would’ve seen, obviously, the murder weapon. If we would’ve known, did she pass away on the side of the road, or was it when she was in the cornfield? There’s a lot of things we wish we would’ve known, but that’s just how things went,” he said.

Still, Reed feels confident in the jury’s decision. He says the near 8 hours the jury took to deliberate were used to go over every part of the trial.

“We wanted to make sure that we were all, that there was no doubt at the end of the day, and then we all felt we were comfortable with the decision and doing the right thing,” Reed said.

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