Defense: Iowa Suspect’s Confession Unreliable

MONTEZUMA, Iowa (AP) — A defense expert says a confession by the suspect in the death of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts is not reliable because he was sleep deprived and susceptible to coercion.

Brian Leslie, a consultant with expertise in interrogation techniques, reviewed video of an 11-hour interrogation of Cristhian Bahena Rivera in August 2018.

He noted that Rivera denied involvement in the disappearance and death of Tibbetts until near the end, around 4 a.m., after he had been falling in and out of sleep. He says he would “not take a lot of what was said as credible.”

Leslie testified on the second day of a hearing on Rivera’s motion to suppress statements made during that interrogation. Judge Joel Yates said Thursday he would take the matter under advisement and rule as quickly as possible.