COLLEGE PARK, MD (WUSA9) - The man accused of fatally stabbing a Bowie State University student on University of Maryland’s campus has been charged with a hate crime.
The Prince George’s County State’s Attorney announced the Grand Jury indictment of Sean Urbanski on Tuesday. It comes nearly five months after Richard Collins III was murdered.
His death sparked outrage and criticism from across the country after it was not immediately labeled a hate crime.
On May 20, police said Collins was waiting with friends at a UMD bus stop when the suspect approached the victim. Urbanski reportedly told Collins to move. When he did not, police said Urbanski—unprovoked—fatally stabbed Collins.
The Army Second Lieutenant was just days shy of his Bowie State University graduation.
“What we’re saying is that race – that Lt. Collins’ death – that he was killed because of his race,” Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said.
So, what took so long? Why now?
“We are focused with getting things right. We are not focused with how long it takes to get to that,” said PGCSA Office spokesman, John Erzen.
Erzen said investigators with two departments—the Prince George’s County Police Department and FBI—thoroughly examined Urbanski’s electronic devices, which include a cell phone and computer.
Alsobrooks would not detail the digital evidence they found, but did say they believe they have enough to show Urbanski committed a hate crime when the case goes to court. As of now, the trial is expected to begin in January.
"We are pleased to hear that the State's Attorney is now adding hate crime charges," the Collins family said in a statement. "We believe and we will continue to fight to make sure that justice is done for our son."
UMD released the following statement on the hate indictment:
"The Collins family remains in our thoughts, following their tragic loss last May. This is especially true today as the prosecution of this senseless crime moves through the criminal justice system."
Bowie State University also released an indictment statement:
“The Bowie State University community continues to mourn the loss of 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, whose life was taken in a senseless act of violence. While it is encouraging to see progress being made in the criminal case, we continue to reflect on the precious life we lost.”
Meanwhile, students on campus said Collins still plays a major role in their lives.
"Although he's not here, his presence is still felt on this campus," said friend and classmate Jonathan Jackson.
Other students were hopeful this is a step in the right direction.
"I think it's very good, and I think it's the start of getting justice," said student Mariama Ashby-Bey.
Those who knew him well said his presence will be on Bowie State's campus for years to come.
"Some of the things he taught me I use in my everyday life. It helps me push through whatever I'm going through," said Jackson.
Urbanski became a member of a racist Facebook group several months before the stabbing. Prosecutors said that alone was not enough to charge Urbanski of a hate crime when he was first arrested for murder.
He faces life without parole and 20 years in prison.
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