Cristhian Bahena Rivera, a Mexican national, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2018 death of college student Mollie Tibbetts by an Iowa jury on Friday.
After less than 8 hours of deliberation, which began Thursday afternoon, the jury announced their decision.
Tibbetts, 20, vanished while running near her Brooklyn, Iowa, home.
Investigators discovered the corpse of the University of Iowa student in a cornfield more than a month later. An autopsy revealed that she died as a result of several sharp-force injuries.
Prosecutors said Bahena Rivera, 26, led police to Tibbetts’ body, but said two masked, armed men forced him to drive them and Tibbetts to the rural area, where they killed her. Investigators found Tibbetts’ blood in the trunk of Bahena Rivera’s vehicle.
Prosecutors said Bahena Rivera killed Tibbetts because she rejected his romantic advances. Defense attorneys, instead, suggested Tibbetts’ boyfriend, Dalton Jack, was really to blame for her murder.
Bahena Rivera faces life in prison without the possibility of parole at his July 15 sentencing hearing.