The man who admitted to stabbing and killing Iowa State University golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Collin Richards pleaded guilty to the murder in June and was sentenced in court Friday.
Barquin Arozamena was a championship golfer at Iowa State. She was attacked on September 17 while playing a round on a course close to campus. Richards was living in a nearby homeless camp at the time.
Before sentencing, Richards sent a letter to Judge Bethany Currie saying he was sorry for taking Barquin Arozamena’s life and for taking her from her family. Life in prison is the mandatory sentence for first degree murder in Iowa, but Currie said that, if she had the option, she would not have been more lenient.
“There is no excuse for your actions,” Currie told Richards at the sentencing hearing. “You say in your letter that you have remorse and I hope that is true. You’ll spend the rest of your life in prison with time to reflect.”
The Ames police quickly identified Richards as the attacker in the case, “which was huge for our community because there would have been a lot of fear if they had not been able to,” said Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds. But, she said, the healing process for the community is incomplete. “The one-year anniversary of Celia’s murder is fast approaching,” she said. “It’s a time for us to reach out to one another with kindness, love and friendship.”
During the hearing, Reynolds read a statement from Barquin Arozamena’s family, saying the legal system should have been more effective in dealing with Richards’ history of drug abuse and mental illness. But, they said, the sentence brings some peace to her family and friends.