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Family, a lawyer of Mollie Tibbetts’ alleged killer to fight back

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A lawyer for the suspect in Mollie Tibbetts’ murder speaks out

Lawyer Allan Richards discusses the case against Cristhian Rivera on ‘The Story with Martha MacCallum.’

The lawyer of Mollie Tibbetts’ suspected killer fought back Thursday night against researchers ‘ statements that his client, Cristhian Rivera, an illegal immigrant, calling it “rhetoric.”

“That is your rhetoric”, lawyer Allan Richards told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum on “The Story”. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said Wednesday that Rivera, 24, is in the U.S. illegally, and lived in Iowa for four to seven years.

MOLLIE TIBBETTS KILLED BY ‘SHARP FORCE INJURIES,” PRELIMINARY AUTOPSY SHOWS

MacCallum argued that his immigration status is “simply a fact”, but Richards pushed back further to refer to it as the anchor of the “point of view.”

“You want to jump in to say that they are facts,” Richards said. “Have these people under oath? Do these people have the opportunity to Cristhian to share his vision on the case?”

Cristhian Rivera, 24, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday in the death of Mollie Tibbetts.

(Iowa Department of Public Safety)

When there are questions about the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s preliminary results of the autopsy, who stated that Tibbetts died of “sharp force injuries,” Richards called it simply “report” that he needed to review before commenting on.

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“As far as death, I am very sorry about the death,” Richards told Fox News. “I’m not going to make any comment on a report until someone testifies, in more detail, about the case.”

In addition to speaking of Richards, Fox News on Thursday interviewed the aunt of Iris Monarrez — Rivera’s ex-girlfriend and mother of his daughter, who went to high school with Tibbetts.

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The aunt said that Rivera, who they described as a good father for his daughter lived with Monarrez until about a year and a half ago, when the couple from each other. Monarrez has since moved from the area.

“He was a good man. He was a jokester,” the aunt said of Rivera, through a translator. “For us, he was a good and normal person. Not aggressive or violent, no. He was normal, just as we are.”

The family members, according to Monarrez’s aunt, “can’t believe” Rivera’s alleged involvement, and said that she hoped “it is probably an error and we will wake up from this nightmare.”

In the weeks when Tibbetts was missing, Rivera is not going to act differently, the aunt said. She added that when the family get together, “we would talk about the situation,” and Rivera “would respond as well and we would all say that we were amazed and afraid, because this is a quiet town.”

More about Mollie Tibbetts…

  • Farm rented Cristhian Rivera, Mollie Tibbetts’ alleged killer, did not use E-Verify system, official says

  • Mollie Tibbetts, University of Iowa student, found dead: A timeline of the events

  • Mollie Tibbetts research: Chevy Malibu, seen in surveillance video are not registered to suspect, Rivera, source says

“This has never happened around here and we were all sad while they wait, and begs to God that she would be found alive and that everything would be fine,” she told Fox News. “He has never shown signs for us to suspect that it had something to do with this.”

The aunt said that if Rivera is guilty of the crimes of which he is accused, she just wants to know “Why?”

“Why have you done this? You’re a talented young man. You had a future in front of you. Why? Why? That is what I would ask him,” the aunt said. She said the family was awaiting the DNA, which she hoped would clear Rivera’s name.

Fox News’ Martha MacCallum, Melissa Chrise and Tomas Vazquez contributed to this report.

Nicole Darrah cover breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

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