Collin Daniel Richards pleads not guilty in death of Celia Barquín Arozamena


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.

Devyn Leeson

The man charged with murder in the first-degree of Celia Barquín Arozamena pleaded not guilty, according to court documents.

Collin Daniel Richards, 22, was charged with first-degree murder on Sept. 17 after police found Richards with the weapon suspected of being used to kill Barquín Arozamena earlier that day.

Richards had an in-person arraignment scheduled Monday that was canceled. Instead, court documents indicate the plea was written and submitted to the court Monday morning. Paul W. Rounds, a public defender, is representing Richards.

“I have been advised by the above-named attorney and understand that I have a right to arraignment in open court, and I hereby voluntarily waive that right, choosing instead to sign this written arraignment and plea of not guilty,” according to court documents Richards signed.

Judge Bethany Currie set the court date for Richards for Jan. 15, 2019 at 9 a.m., according to court documents filed Monday. A pretrial conference is scheduled for Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. in the Story County Courthouse in Nevada.

Richards’ plea does not come as a surprise; Rounds told the Iowa State Daily on Sept. 19 that his client would plead not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder.

“In my experience, the initial police reports rarely tell the whole story,” Rounds said at the time. “We just hope that the people keep an open mind until the trial.”

The Iowa State Daily’s K. Rambo contributed to this story.