In this September 2016 file photo provided by Kim Calderwood, Mollie Tibbetts poses for a picture during homecoming festivities at BGM High School in her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa. Series doubt. Cristhian Bahena Rivera has not had the case against him proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Twelve jurors, including three Hispanic Americans and nine white Americans from 19 to 71-years-old, found Bahena Rivera guilty of first-degree murder following a almost two-week trial and less than eight hours of deliberation.
Tibbetts' disappearance after going out for a jog in her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa and the subsequent month-long search for her became a national news story in 2018.
Bahena Rivera, a farm worker who came to the USA illegally from Mexico as a teenager, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole, which is a mandatory sentence upon conviction.
He is due to be sentenced in July.
This prompted Ms Tibbett's family to plead with politicians not to use her death to "advance a cause she vehemently opposed". Her body wasn't discovered until Bahena Rivera led police to where it was hidden after confessing to her killing during interrogation. He claimed for the first time that two masked men took him at gunpoint from his trailer, forced him to drive as one of them killed Tibbetts on a rural road and directed him to a rural area where he left her body. The defense told the jury that the confession, though, was coerced and false because Bahena Rivera was scared the masked men would hurt his family and he was exhausted. That's a figment of his imagination. Bahena stood and showed no emotion as the verdict was read.
After she rejected him, Bahena Rivera got angry, the prosecution said.
"The way he reacts with that anger is to stab this young woman to death and to dump her body in a cornfield", Brown told the jury. However, Rivera's defense team plans to appeal the decision. Judge Joel Yates ordered Bahena Rivera, who has been in custody since his August 2018 arrest, to be held without bond pending a July 15 sentencing hearing.