DES MOINES, Iowa -- Following the shocking killing of Iowa State University golf star Celia Barquin Arozamena, the criminal history of the man charged with her murder is being scrutinized. Court records show that Collin Richards, who just turned 22 earlier this month, has been involved in more than two dozen criminal cases in the past four years.
On Monday, Richards was arrested on a charge of first degree murder in Arozamena's death. On Wednesday, we reached out to Drake University Law Professor Robert Rigg, to ask him about whether he saw any red flags in Richards' criminal background. Rigg said no one could have seen this coming.
"I ran it past my students here in the clinic..." said Rigg. "...And so we looked at it and said is there anything about this individual's background, just from the bare bones of the charges that we know about, that would indicate that he has a propensity or a predilection to commit a homicide? And, everybody agreed. They said no, there`s nothing in there that's gonna indicate that he would go out and do something like this."
Rigg said while Richards picked up a significant number of offenses over the years, they were minor crimes and he sees nothing in Richards' background that would have pointed to the killing a young woman, (which is what he's charged with). "There`s nothing about this background that you would look at and you would immediately say we`re going to go from an aggravated misdemeanor and we`re gonna jump to a Class A felony and the intentional killing of a young woman," said Rigg.
While Rigg doesn't see any red flags in Richards' background, Tiffany Allison ( a vocal advocate for victims of violent crime and the Founder & President of Soaring Hearts Foundation) does.
"Absolutely" said Allison. "The domestic abuse charge...that included obstruction of airway is a major indicator that he was going to escalate to homicide at some point."
Allison says the numbers back her up.
"When we look at statistical information and lethality assessments, that's the biggest indicator to homicide, is obstruction of airway on a victim," said Allison.
Allison says the leniency of the Iowa Criminal Justice System is a major problem that needs legislative reform.
“I don’t know that it necessarily goes back to the Department of Corrections or a prosecutor or a judge or anyone specific," said Allison. "But, I think that the bigger problem is the leniency of the Iowa Criminal Justice system, because we had someone here who clearly had a very long criminal history, that we were continually putting on probation, that was not successfully completing those probations, that we were just sort of slapping on the wrist and letting them, you know, back out into the community, fining them, and there were no real repercussions."