MONTEZUMA — 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.
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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