The man who who admitted to killing Iowa State golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Friday in Ames, Iowa.
Collin Richards, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder two months ago, issued an apology for his crime but did not offer a clear explanation why he did it.
Arozamena was a star golfer from Spain, named Iowa State Female Athlete of the Year in 2017 and 2018 Big 12 champion. The 22-year-old was All-Big 12 three times and was ranked No. 69 nationally by Golfweek at the time of her death.
Arozamena was found dead on a golf course near Iowa State on Sept. 17, 2018, when police arrived after her bag was found unattended. Her body was found in a pond with stab wounds and signs of assault. Richards had been living in a homeless encampment nearby and struggled with alcohol and drug problems.
The 22-year-old Richards had been released from prison three months earlier after serving a seven-month term for violating probation following a burglary charge. He reportedly told another person living at the encampment the day before the murder that he was “having an urge to rape and kill a woman.”
Richards’ sentence was expected to be life in prison after he pleaded guilty — no plea deal was offered — so the sentencing served as another chance for Arozamena’s friends and family to mourn.
“It has been, and continues to be, very hard to fight with the impotence of such a cruel, random and absurd crime," Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds read at trial Friday on the family's behalf, via the Des Moines Register. “We are deeply moved and touched to see how dear she was to Ames, the city that made her so happy during her last years of her life and which she came to consider a second home."
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