Trial delayed for Severna Park man accused of killing Bowie State student in hate crime

Rachael Pacella
Contact Reporterrpacella@capgaznews.com

A judge has granted prosecutors’ request to delay the trial of a man accused of killing Bowie State University student 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III in a 2017 hate crime.

Sean Christopher Urbanski, of Severna Park, was scheduled to go on trial this month for allegedly stabbing Collins at a bus stop on the University of Maryland campus. Prosecutors have said Urbanski, a white man, targeted Collins because he was black.

Urbanski was a student at the University of Maryland at the time of the murder. He has been indicted and charged with first degree murder and a hate crime resulting in death.

After the murder, authorities said Urbanski belonged to a group on Facebook that shared hateful imagery called Alt-Reich: Nation. His defense attorneys have tried to get that evidence banned from the trial, saying it isn’t tied to the crime and would confuse the jury, and also that it violates his First Amendment rights. Online court records don’t show a change in charges.

The trial delay was requested because of a change in administration, said Denise Roberts, spokeswoman for new State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy.

Braveboy was elected in November. Former State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks was elected county executive.

The original attorneys who were working the case aren’t in the office anymore because of the change, Roberts said.

“The attorneys now assigned to the case needed more time to get caught up,” she said.

In December, Judge Lawrence Hill Jr. scheduled a motion hearing for the case May 30, and the trial for July 22-29.

Collins was days away from graduating Bowie State University and joining the U.S. Army — he was a part of the school’s ROTC program and had already commissioned when he was murdered.

The stabbing occurred at 3 a.m. May 20, 2017. Police said Collins and two others were waiting for an Uber ride outside the Montgomery Hall dormitory on Regents Drive near Route 1 when he was attacked.

Police called the stabbing unprovoked and said the incident was caught on camera. The two men did not know each other.

Witnesses reported the suspect was intoxicated and incoherent. Collins’ friends told police they heard the suspect scream as he approached them, and police said the suspect told Collins to “step left” if he knew what was good for him. Collins said “no” and the suspect stabbed him once in the chest, police said.

He was found injured on the sidewalk and was taken to a hospital, where he died, police said.

At a tearful ceremony in November Collins’ family and public officials gathered to celebrate a scholarship launched in his honor, the Lt. Richard W. Collins III Leadership with Honor Scholarship, which the state funds with $1 million a year. Recipients must be eligible for in-state tuition, a member of a Reserve Officer Training Corps, a minority or member of an underrepresented group in the ROTC and must attend a historically black college or university.

“He was a shining example of what every child should be,” state Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller, D-Calvert, said.

Sen. Douglas J. J. Peters, D-Bowie, said Collins’ family has set the bar for moral character in the face of tragedy. Collins’ mother, Dawn Collins, said others will be able to achieve greatness through the program.

“To that end, this is only the first step of a journey,” she said.

Baltimore Sun reporter Talia Richman and Carrie Wells contributed to this report.

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