The man accused of killing former golf star of the University of Iowa, Celia Barquin Arozamena, pleaded guilty to first degree murder on Friday.

Collin Richards, 22, will be sentenced on August 23, but a conviction for first degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence without parole.

Richards appeared in court for a preliminary hearing in front of the Story County Justice Center Friday afternoon in Nevada, Iowa, when he "indicated that he wanted to plead guilty and that" He was ready to proceed today, "Judge Bethany Currie wrote in an order after the plea.

In March, Richards sent Currie a handwritten note expressing the same desire to plead guilty, but she advised him to speak with his lawyer and subsequent proceedings before Friday focused on the preparation of the trial.

Richards, who was homeless, was accused of killing Arozamena, golf champion of the 12 largest conferences of the 2018 Conference, and female athlete of the year in the state of the United States. Iowa. The civil engineering student was found dead on September 17 in the morning at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, Iowa, stabbed.

Celia Barquin Arozamena (Photo: Special on the register)

"Today, we pay tribute to the life and memory of Celia Barquin Arozamena by announcing that justice had been done to her," said Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds in a written statement. . "No plea bargain has been made in this case. …

"My heart is with Celia's family today with the hope that this result will bring them some comfort."

Richards had officially pleaded not guilty. The trial was scheduled for September at Decorah.

In the March letter, he wrote that "I would like to take care of my case, I would like to do everything it is to go forward by putting an end to the case full of guilt if it is necessary thank you and sorry, I plead guilty. "

A handwritten letter to Story County District Judge Bethany Currie says Collin Richards wants to plead guilty to the death of Celia Barquin Arozamena. (Photo: Special on the register)

Currie asked Richards public defenders to request a hearing if a plea of ​​guilty was provided. The lawyers had not responded to reporters' messages at the time and had not sent out messages this week asking for comments on Friday's hearing.

Public defenders did not respond to requests for further comments on Friday afternoon.

The attack and the investigation

Police said that Richards, who was living in a homeless camp near Coldwater Golf Links in September, told another man that he "had a strong urge to rape and kill a woman" the day before. murder. When the police found him, he had scratches in his face, which was a sign of fighting, police said.

When Richards arrived that day with an acquaintance, he was disheveled and covered with blood, sand and water, a witness told the detectives. He bathed, then left in a black backpack with clothes stained with blood, the police said in the court records.

Arozamena played golf alone on the morning of September 17, as she often did to train.

In the days following the discovery of his body on the course, the investigators executed search warrants and found three knives, other material evidence and what the investigators would be on Richards' Facebook page, according to documents court.

Transient for much of his life, Richards had He had a history of mental illness and addiction that resulted in more than two dozen juvenile and criminal charges.

A native of Puente San Miguel, Spain, Arozamena is remembered for his contagious smile and sparkling personality. She was among the most accomplished golfers in the history of the state of Iowa.

"This tragic crime is something that has moved and saddened us all, but we will not let tragedy define us," county attorney Reynolds wrote. "We will honor Celia's life and memory by remembering her great spirit and all the lives she has touched and made better during the time she has spent with us."