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Life without parole for man who killed Spanish golfer on US course

Collin Richards admitted stabbing Celia Barquin Arozamena in Iowa.

Collin Richards (Story County Iowa Jail/AP)
Collin Richards (Story County Iowa Jail/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

The man who fatally stabbed a golfer from Spain while she was playing a round near the school has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Collin Richards pleaded guilty on June 14 to first-degree murder in the September 17 slaying of 22-year-old Celia Barquin Arozamena in Iowa.

Police said Richards stabbed her on the course near the central Iowa campus in Ames and left her body in a pond.

Richards had been staying at a homeless encampment in nearby woods.

Ames police reports show that Richards struggled with drug and alcohol abuse, mental health problems and homelessness after he got out of prison three months before he killed Ms Barquin.

He had served roughly seven months behind bars for violating the terms of his probation on convictions for burglary and other crimes.

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File photo of Iowa State cheerleaders looking at a memorial to honour murdered student Celia Barquin Arozamena, seen in the photo at the right (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Richards, 22, told a judge earlier this month that he was sorry for his crime.

He said in a handwritten letter that he wanted to show remorse “for stripping a life from society … worse, from a loving family”.

Ms Barquin was a top golfer in Spain as a teenager and came to Iowa State University to pursue her career.

Her family is aware of Richards’ expression of remorse but “they don’t give too much credit to that apology at this time”, the family’s lawyer, Leon Vidaller, told The Des Moines Register.

Authorities have not been able to explain why Richards did it, which makes the loss even worse, Mr Vidaller said.

Richards’ family and friends have said his dependence on methamphetamine and other drugs likely led to mental health issues and the violence.

Richards being imprisoned for life, a mandatory sentence, will not bring Ms Barquin back, but it will give the family some closure, the lawyer said.

PA

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