Suspect pleads guilty to murder of ISU golfer

Iowa News

NEVADA, Iowa (WOI) – Collin Richards has pleaded guilty to murdering former Iowa State University golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena. 

Richards, 22, pleaded guilty Friday to murder in the first degree without any plea deal being offered, according to court records and the Story County Attorney’s Office. 

Arozamena was found in a nearby pond on September 17, 2018 with several stab wounds to the upper torso, head and neck. Later that day, police were approached by Richards, who appeared to have several fresh scratches to his face and a deep laceration on his left hand.

A trial in Winnishiek County had previously been scheduled for September in the case.

Richards will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on August 23.


“Today we honor the life and memory of Celia Barquin Arozamena, by announcing that justice has been served in her case. The defendant, Collin Richards, pled guilty today as charged to the crime of Murder in the First Degree. There were no plea offers made in this case. And Iowa law provides that the defendant will now serve a mandatory life sentence in prison, without the possibility of parole.

“My heart is with Celia’s family today with the hope that this result will bring them some level of comfort. Please know our entire community supports you and grieves with you.

“Thank you to the Ames Police Department and the Iowa DCI specifically: Ames Police Chief Cychosz, Commander Huff, Commander Tuttle, Adam McPherson, Heath Ropp, Mitch Koepping, Det. Cole Hippen, and SA Chris Swigart. Your excellent police work cannot be overstated. This was a random act of violence that terrorized our community. The random nature of this crime made for a difficult investigation, however, thanks to the hard work, professionalism, and diligence of our law enforcement officers, this case was quickly solved and the perpetrator brought to justice.

“This event is a reminder of the serious impact violence has on a community. I take my duty to serve and protect our community and citizens very seriously, and work every day to help ensure that those who commit violent crimes in our county are held accountable to the law. I hope we can take this moment to come together as a community and begin to heal together. Let’s offer our support to those who help to keep us safe. The next time you see a police officer, consider thanking them. It might surprise you how meaningful this simple act can be. We all must remember to assist each other and to look out for one another.

“This tragic crime is something we have all been moved and saddened by. But we will not let tragedy define us. 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. The thoughts and prayers of our entire community are with her family and loved ones, and I hope today’s events can offer them some measure of peace.”

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