The farmhand charged in the abduction and stabbing death of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts in Iowa has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera entered his plea Wednesday at the Poweshiek County Courthouse in Montezuma, Iowa.
Rivera is charged in the killing of Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student who disappeared while out for a run July 18 in Brooklyn, Iowa.
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Investigators recovered her body a month later in a cornfield. A medical examiner has said Tibbetts was stabbed to death.
Investigators say Rivera, a native of Mexico who came to the U.S. during his teenage years, was in the U.S. illegally and is subject to deportation proceedings. The 24-year-old worked under a false identity, John Budd, at a dairy farm a few miles from where Tibbetts disappeared.
He waived his right to be tried within 90 days. Trial is set for April 16.