Juror Robert Reed told Fox News that the panel was convinced in its decision, noting that the charged nature of this case in’t play a role in the outcome.

An Iowa man who served on the jury that convicted the killer of Mollie Tibbetts on Friday told Fox News that the case was “very emotional” but that he was convinced they made the right decision.  

Robert Reed, a Davenport resident, said he along with the 11 other jurors took just more than seven hours to convict Cristhian Bahena Rivera of first-degree murder. The case made national headlines because of Bahena Rivera’s undocumented status.  

“What we really needed to do is put all of our emotions to the side, ” Reed said. “It wasn’ t about our personal beliefs. We had to look at the evidence.

“I feel very confident with our decisions, ” he added. “I think the other jurors are very confident. “

Bahena Rivera, a farm worker who came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico as a teenager, faces life in prison with no possibility of parole, which is a mandatory sentence upon conviction. He’ll be held without bond pending a July 15 sentencing hearing.

Prosecutors said he spotted Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student, as she had been jogging in Brooklyn, Iowa on July 18, 2018. He tried to make advances toward her and got angry when she rebuffed him. He confessed to police after the slaying he “blacked out” after becoming angry.  

He said he later realized her body was in the trunk of his car and buried her in a cornfield. The trial took a twist this week when Bahena Rivera took the stand and said two armed men kidnapped him and forced him to participate in the killing. He said they threatened his family in an attempt to silence him.  

Before his testimony, he hadn’t said anything about being kidnapped or the two men he claimed killed Tibbetts. Prosecutors called the testimony a “figment of his imagination. “

“That was interesting to me, ” Reed said. “I don’ t know if anyone has really heard that story . “

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He said Bahena Rivera didn’t show any emotion during the trial aside from when the mother of his daughter testified.

“I don’t hold that against him, ” Reed said.

Iris Monarrez Gamboa told the jury that he had never been violent toward their child.  

Defense attorneys said they plan to appeal the verdict. Bahena Rivera faces up to life in prison.

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