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Fairness issues loom over trial in Iowa student’s slaying

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Legal experts say that it will be difficult to ensure a fair trial for the farmhand charged with murder in the 2018 stabbing death of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts. 

Jury selection will begin today in Davenport for the trial of Cristhian Bahena Rivera. Lawyers for both sides will work to whittle a pool of 175 potential jurors down to 12 and three alternates. The trial is expected to last two weeks. 

Rivera is charged with killing Tibbetts while she was out for a run in her hometown of Brooklyn in central Iowa, and hiding her body in a cornfield. Because he is a Mexico native who was living in the U.S. illegally, the case has inflamed passions over illegal immigration.

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