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Postcards ask judge to limit defense for accused killer of Mollie Tibbetts

Cristhian Bahena Rivera

More than 200 people have sent postcards to Judge Joel Yates protesting his decision to authorize $5,000 for an investigator to work with Cristhian Bahena Rivera's defense.

Posted: Oct. 15, 2018 2:49 PM

MONTEZUMA, Iowa (AP) — Supporters of a right-wing group are asking a judge not to grant a "deluxe legal defense" for a Mexican national charged with killing an Iowa college student.

More than 200 people have sent postcards to Judge Joel Yates protesting his decision to authorize $5,000 for an investigator to work with Cristhian Bahena Rivera's defense.

Illegal immigrant charged with murder in Tibbetts case

Timeline: The disappearance of Mollie Tibbetts

Reaction to arrest in the case

Rivera pleads not guilty to first-degree murder

The postcards are distributed by the Virginia-based Secure America Alliance. They ask Yates not to "award any more taxpayer money for a deluxe legal defense for an illegal alien."

Rivera is charged with killing 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts, who disappeared July 18 in Brooklyn. Rivera had worked for years at a dairy farm, and prosecutors say he was in the U.S. illegally.

Yates granted a routine request by Rivera's defense last month to appoint a private investigator, writing that Rivera is indigent and the case "presents a need for an investigator." He approved a $5,000 stipend, saying additional payments are subject to court approval.

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