Sept. 19 (UPI) — The man accused of killing Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts pleaded not guilty Wednesday to first-degree murder.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, entered his plea during an appearance at the Poweshiek County Courthouse. He waived his right to a trial within 90 days. Iowa District Court Judge Joel Yates scheduled the trial for April 16.
Chad Frese, one of Rivera’s lawyers, told reporters after the hearing that they’re considering requesting to have the trial moved outside of Poweshiek County.
If convicted, Rivera faces up to life in prison without parole.
Tibbetts disappeared July 18 after going out for a nightly run in Brooklyn, Iowa, and her body was found in a cornfield in August after police said Rivera led them there.
The Iowa State Medical Examiner said the 20-year-old University of Iowa student’s death was a “homicide resulting from multiple sharp force injuries.”
He was being held in Poweshiek County Jail on a $5 million bond.