Prosecutors: Man accused of killing Iowa State golfer would get fair trial

Courtesy: Iowa State

Prosecutors: Man accused of killing Iowa State golfer would get fair trial

College

Prosecutors: Man accused of killing Iowa State golfer would get fair trial

By

The homeless man accused of killing a former Iowa State University golf star would get a fair and impartial trial in Story County, prosecutors argued in asking a judge to deny his request to move the trial elsewhere in Iowa.

Collin Richards, who was charged with first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of Celia Barquín Arozamena, asked Monday for his trial to be moved out of Story County. He argued that numerous media outlets continue to report on the case.

In a response Tuesday, prosecutors said Richards, 22, could not show the pretrial coverage was presumptively prejudicial. News articles reviewed by prosecutors showed the coverage was “predominantly factual.”

“The coverage was not sensational,” according to court records filed by two assistant Story County attorneys. “None of the media reports reviewed by the State indicate that (the) defendant is guilty of the crimes charged.”

Richards was arrested after police found Barquín Arozamena, a civil engineering student and one of the most accomplished golfers in Iowa State history, dead with multiple stab wounds Sept. 17 at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames.

Barquín Arozamena’s killing received coverage locally, nationally and internationally, making it likely prospective jurors in any county have some knowledge of the case, prosecutors said. But the county’s attorneys said they are “satisfied that Story County residents are, like most Iowans, fair-minded people who are capable of abiding by their oath and would make good jurors.”

Former Iowa State golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena (Courtesy: Iowa State golf)

Public defenders for Richards also argued in their motion for a change of venue that Iowa State is one of the largest employers in the region.

Prosecutors said there are presumably hundreds of thousands of ISU graduates in Iowa, making it likely that potential jurors could be associated with ISU in any county. The jury selection process can “effectively rout out” any prejudice, they argued.

A hearing on Richards’ motion was set for May 6.

Richards, who has pleaded not guilty, is set to go to trial this coming September. He remains at Story County Jail on a $5 million bond.

In March, Richards penned a letter to District Judge Bethany Currie indicating he may plead guilty. Richards has not changed his plea, however, and his public defenders have not commented publicly about the letter.

“I would like to take care of my case, I would like to do whatever it is to move forward ending the case ple of guilty if it takes that thank you & sorry,” Richards wrote in the letter, which included spelling errors. “I do plead guilty.”

Latest

More Golfweek
Home