First hearing Richards

Collin Richards, who is charged with first-degree murder, is led to his seat by attorney Paul Rounds before his first court appearance. Judge Bethany Currie ruled there will be an open trial.

The man accused of killing Celia Barquín Arozamena, a former Iowa State golfer, was granted a new lawyer after handing in a handwritten request, according to the Des Moines Register.

Collin Daniel Richards, 22, appeared at the Story County District Court in Nevada Monday afternoon. He wrote he wanted a new lawyer due to a communication issue, according to the Register. 

"I am kindly requesting a new lawyer. The reason for this is communication issue between me and my lawyer," Richards wrote in the complaint. "I feel moving past this issue is the correct and most productive thing for me. I need to take care of myself and the case I am in."

Paul Rounds, a Nevada public defender originally assigned to Richards' case, objected to Richards switching counsel because it will not help Richard's case, the Register reported. Judge Bethany Currie granted the request and said she would appoint a Marshalltown office defender.

Richards is charged with first-degree murder after the body of Arozamena was found at an Ames golf course, Coldwater Golf Links. He has pleaded not guilty.

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Barquín Arozamena had sustained multiple stab wounds to her upper torso, head and neck, according to the criminal complaint. A witness at the scene helped lead investigators to Richards.

Richards was in the Nevada courthouse in October for a conflict hearing after it was discovered that Rounds had previously has contact with a witness.

After the motions for a conflict hearing and a closed trial were filed earlier this month, Rounds filed an objection soon after and accused the state of "prosecutorial misconduct."

During the hearing, Rounds accused the state of using the potential conflict as a way to push him out of the case. Judge Currie added this was a necessary step to ensure a fair trial. 

Rounds said he had minimal interactions with the witness, only ever speaking to her over the phone briefly. He said he had involvement in the witness' case in 2015 and 2016 but has little recollection of what the case details were, claiming to not even remember what the violations.

Richards ultimately decided to keep Rounds as his lawyer at the time, but has since changed his decision. 

(1) comment

Paul Dunca

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