The man who pleaded guilty to murdering Celia Barquín Arozamena was sentenced to life in prison Friday.


A mugshot of Collin Daniel Richards from his Sept. 17 arrest for the murder of ISU student Celia Barquin Arozamena. Richards is being held without bond at the Story County Jail.

Collin Daniel Richards admitted to the killing of Barquín Arozamena June 14, and his guilty plea to the first-degree murder charge carries an automatic life sentence, without the possibility of parole.

Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds read a victim impact statement from Barquín Arozamena’s family, saying in part “the judicial result obtained today brings the justice that Celia deserved.”

“During these months we have experienced a slow and painful process of gradually assuming her absence," the statement said. "To miss her daily calls telling how the day had gone or the beautiful reunions when she returned to our house for holidays. Celia was a young woman who radiated a desire to live, to improve day by day so as to reach her dreams but without missing the opportunity to offer help to whoever asked for it.”

Judge Bethany Currie presided over the sentencing, during which Richards apologized for the murder.

“You say in [a letter Richards sent to the judge] you have remorse and I hope that is true," Currie said. "You’ll have your life in prison to reflect."

Reynolds issued a statement after the sentencing of Richards.

"Although the criminal matter is concluded today, our community is just beginning the healing process," Reynolds said. "The one year anniversary of Celia's murder is fast approaching. It is normal to feel sad and scared. Secondary trauma is very real and can be serious. Please be sure you are reaching out for help if you are dealing with feelings of sadness or trauma from this violent event."

Barquín Arozamena was a native of Spain and in her last semester at Iowa State studying civil engineering when she was murdered in September 2018. She was the 2018 Iowa State Female Athlete of the Year, an award which was renamed the Celia Barquín Arozamena Female Athlete of the Year award.

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