A homeless man accused with killing former Iowa State University golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.
Collin Daniel Richards, 22, will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Aug. 23 during a sentencing hearing. A plea offer was not extended.
Arozamena was found dead on September 17, 2018 at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, Iowa, after golfers found an unattended bag on the course. It is there that police found the body of Arozamena in a nearby pond. She was 22 years old.
An October 2018 report by the Des Moines Register which cited court documents revealed that Arozamena’s wounds had been caused by a knife “with a blade at least four inches long.” Stab wounds were found on her head, neck, left leg and upper torso, according to the report.
Richards, who was homeless, had been staying at an encampment across from the golf course, per the report.
In March, Richards wrote a letter expressing a desire to plead guilty. "I would like to take care of my case, I would like to do whatever it is to move forward ending the case [plea] of guilty if it takes that thank you [and] sorry,” read the letter obtained by the Des Moines Register. “I do plead guilty."
The letter was reviewed by the district attorney, but Richards and his attorneys were ordered to discuss their options and potential for a hearing.
Now, a hearing will not be needed, bringing the family of Arozamena closure.
"Today we honor the life and memory of Celia Barquin Arozamena by announcing that justice has been served in her case," Story County attorney Jessica Reynolds said in a statement. “My heart is with Celia's family today with the hope that this result will bring them some level of comfort."
Arozamena was a highly touted golfer from Puente San Miguel, Spain. She won the 2018 Big 12 championship by three strokes in April of that year and was awarded All-Big 12 honors three times in her collegiate career. At the time of her death, she was ranked No. 69 nationally by Golfweek.
"This tragic crime is something we have all been moved and saddened by. But we will not let tragedy define us," Reynolds added. “We will honor the life and memory of Celia by remembering her great spirit and all the lives she touched and made better in the time she spent with us."
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