Man accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts to receive government funding for private investigator

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) — A man who is in the country illegally and accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts has received approval to use government funding to help pay for a private investigator in his case.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera walks into Poweshiek County Court on Wednesday, August 22, 2108. (KCCI-TV)

Cristhian Bahena Rivera is charged with first-degree murder in Tibbetts' death after he told authorities he hid her body in a secluded area in a cornfield near Brooklyn.

KCCI-TV reports that online court documents revealed Wednesday that Gratias Investigations, a Des Moines-based firm, will assist Rivera's legal team, which is comprised of husband-and-wife duo Jennifer and Chad Frese.

Gratias Investigations will be paid $5,000, which according to court documents is "probably considerably less than what will actually be necessary to conduct all investigation in this matter." Iowa taxpayers will be footing the bill.

Attorneys argue that without the appointment of a private investigator at the state's expense, Rivera would be "deprived of his constitutional right to a full and complete defense and equal protection under the law."

A trial date has not yet been set.