Hate-crime trial in the 2017 killing of a black student Army officer by Univ Of Maryland student begins with jury selection – Sean Urbanski is charged with first-degree murder and a hate crime in death of Lt. Richard Collins
Jury selection commences as hate-crime trial in the killing of a Black student on Univ of Maryland campus set to begin
Sean Urbanski, a White student at the University of Maryland fatally stabbed Richard Collins III, 23, who is black, at a bus stop on the UM College Park in May, 2017
Prosecutors say Sean Urbanski, 24, targeted the only black person at a bus stop. Urbanski’s lawyers say he was “out-of- his-mind drunk”
Prosecutors link Sean Urbanski, assailant to the “Alt-Reich,” a racist Facebook group that shows extreme bias against minorities – women, Latinos, members of the Jewish faith, and especially African-Americans
Before the fatal stabbing, Urbanski allegedly stormed toward the victim bellowing, “Step left, step left if you know what’s good for you”
2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, defiantly said, “No”
Collins a young counter intelligence officer, due to graduate from Bowie State Univ three days later, died from the injuries
Urbanski is charged with first-degree murder and a hate crime
He faces a possible sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted
The trial began with jury selection on Monday
Sean Urbanski,[left], has been charged with the murder and a hate crime of Richard Wilbur Collins III [right], at the University of Maryland, College Park on Saturday, May 20, 2017
Sean Urbanski of Severna Park, Maryland went on trial at i’s parents leave the PG County District Court in Upper Marlboro Monday, charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of a Bowie State student in May 2017.
Urbanski, 24, a a white University of Maryland student was charged with stabbing a black newly commissioned US Army lieutenant Richard Wilbur Collins III to death on the morning of May 20, 2017 at the University of Maryland, College Park. Collins had been visiting friends on the College Park campus on the night of his death. He was waiting at a bus stop with two friends when Urbanski approached them.
The surveillance video of the stabbing is clear, according to prosecutors: Sean Urbanski stands in the shadows before approaching a group of three college students at a University of Maryland bus stop.
He walks past another man, who, like Urbanski, is white. He bypasses an Asian woman. And then he confronts the only black person in the group. Related Articles: Feds and UMUC campus police probe killing of a 23-year-old graduating Army officer, early Saturday as possible hate crime Link, Sean Urbanski, assailant to the […]
Three friends were waiting at a bus stop on the University of Maryland’s campus around 3 a.m. on a Saturday when a stranger approached them, screaming. “Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you,” the 22-year-old white man told the friends, according to police. “No,” one of the friends, a black man, said before the white man plunged a knife into his chest. After fatally stabbing Collins, Urbanski folded the knife, slipped it into his pocket and sat down on a bench until police arrived, a prosecutor has said. Police arrested Sean Urbanski at the bus stop, 50 feet from where 23-year-old Richard Collins III, was dying.
A portrait of Richard Collins III, center, standing with his aunt and uncle, was displayed at his 2017 memorial service
In the the District Court in Upper Marlboro, Prince George’s County prosecutors intend to argue that Collins’ killing was a hate crime carried out by a man biased against black people.
Urbanski liked a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich: Nation” and saved at least six photographs of racist memes on his phone, according to prosecutors. In counter arguments, defense attorneys are expected to argue that there is no evidence of a racist motive for what occurred at the bus stop that night in May 2017.
Witnesses told police that Urbanski was drunk and screaming incoherently when he approached the friends, one of his lawyers has said.
Army 2nd Lt. Richard Collins, 23, was commissioned shortly before his death
However, the killing coincided with a surge in hate on U.S. college campuses. Reports of white supremacists posting fliers and other propaganda on campuses more than tripled in 2017, according to a figures released by the Anti-Defamation League.
In August 2017, torch-toting white supremacists marched through the University of Virginia’s campus on the eve of a rally that led to violent clashes and bloodshed. Urbanski is charged with first-degree murder and a hate crime. He faces a possible sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted. Jury selection is scheduled to start December 9. Defense lawyers earlier failed to persuade Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Hill Jr. to exclude the racist memes and Facebook group as trial evidence. One of the memes “advocates violence against blacks,” while another has an image of a noose, a handgun and poison, a prosecutor has said. During a hearing in June, defense attorney William Brennan cited a New York Times article in which an administrator of the Facebook group said it was satire. Hunter College sociology professor Jessie Daniels, an expert in online racism, said pushing boundaries between parody and harmful hate is “baked into the far-right culture.” Daniels said some of the memes on Urbanski’s phone are somewhat hard to decipher because they contain “multiple layers of inside jokes.” Others are overtly racist, she added. “Just saying something is playing with humor doesn’t give it a free pass,” said Daniels. “Online white supremacy has real consequences,” Daniels said. “Words have power, and they can cause people real harm.” Prosecutors wanted to call Daniels as an expert witness to testify about her research and the material from Urbanski’s phone. The judge, however, ruled out any testimony by Daniels at the trial. Urbanski’s lawyers said prosecutors didn’t give them adequate notice of her testimony, arguing Daniels would mislead the jury.
Sean Urbanski’s parents [center and right], are seen leave the District Court in Upper Marlboro Monday, Dec. 9 after a judge ruled he be held without bail.The killer, Sean Urbanski, [center], then a student at UMUC has been linked with a Neo-Nazi hate group
Collins was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army shortly before his death, was visiting friends at the University of Maryland on the night he was killed.
He was days from graduating from Bowie State University, a historically black college, three days later.
Prosecutors say Urbanski, then a University of Maryland student, stabbed Collins because he was the only black person at the bus stop that night. His friends were a white male and an Asian female. Brennan has said there’s no evidence Collins was “selected” because he was black.
The victim’s parents, Dawn and Richard Collins Jr. created a foundation in their son’s name. In a video posted on the foundation’s website, Dawn Collins said they were proud to see their son receive his Army commission. In one of their last conversations, her son said, “Mom, I made it, and the world is going to know my name,’” she recalled. Judge Lawrence Hill Jr. ruled Urbanski be held without bail and Jurors are expected to hear opening statements for Sean Urbanski’s trial later this week.