A memorial to slain golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena was erected at Iowa State after her 2018 death. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

Collin Richards, who pleaded guilty in June to the murder of former Iowa State golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena, was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the mandatory sentence for first-degree murder in Iowa.

On Sept. 17, 2018, police were called to Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, Iowa, after other golfers discovered a golf bag with no one around it. Barquin Arozamena’s body was found a short distance away with stab wounds to her upper torso, head and neck. Police soon found Richards in a homeless encampment near the course and noticed he had scratches on his face and a deep laceration on his left hand that he was attempting to conceal.

Police also found blood-covered clothing and a backpack at Richards’s tent along with a knife they said belonged to him. Another man who lived at the homeless encampment said Richards had told him he had “an urge to rape and kill a woman” the day before the killing.

“I want you to know how sincere I am I want to show remorse for stripping a life from society worse from a loving family,” Richards wrote in a letter to the court this month. “I want the family and you know to know I’m sorry.”

Along with the life sentence, he was ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution to her family.

Barquin Arozamena, a native of Puente San Miguel, Spain, won the 2018 Big 12 individual title, becoming just the second Cyclones golfer to earn medalist honors at a conference tournament, and advanced to the NCAA regional for a fourth straight year. She also won the European Ladies’ Amateur championship in July 2018, shooting a course-record 63 at Slovakia’s Penati Golf Resort in the third round. Barquin Arozamena had exhausted her NCAA eligibility but had returned to Ames to finish her civil engineering degree.

Iowa State’s football players wore a decal bearing Barquin Arozamena’s initials on their helmets during a game against Akron last season (the Zips’ players also wore the decals). A video tribute and moment of silence were observed during the game.

Spanish pro golfer Sergio Garcia also expressed his condolences, saying he had met Barquin Arozamena and calling her a “special person.” He dedicated a round at last year’s Portuguese Masters to her, shooting a 5-under-par 66.

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