PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — A jury found Sean Urbanski guilty Wednesday in the fatal stabbing of U.S. Army Lt. Richard Collins III.
Urbanski was charged with first-degree murder and a hate crime after the fatal stabbing in May 2017. On Tuesday, a judge dismissed hate crime charges, but he was found guilty of first-degree murder charges on Wednesday.
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.
After fatally stabbing Collins, 23, Urbanski folded the knife, slipped it into his pocket and sat down on a bench until police arrived, a prosecutor said.
Urbanski was arrested at the bus stop, 50 feet from where Collins was dying.
"This guilty verdict sends a message to the entire country that crimes of bigotry and hate will not be tolerated in Prince George’s County," Prince George's County State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy said. "This was an ugly and unprovoked attack fueled by hate and Mr. Urbanski cut short the life of Lt. Collins, who had a bright and promising future that included serving his country. We believe that Mr. Urbanski should face the highest possible penalty allowed by state law for his actions."
Sean Urbanski's mom wept softly in the courtroom as the jury foreman announced that her son was guilty.
WUSA9's Bruce Leshan notes it was impossible to see Urbanski's reaction to the possibility he will spend the rest of his life in prison with no possibility of parole because his back was to the courtroom gallery.
Prince George’s County prosecutors argued 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 pictures of racist memes on his phone, prosecutors said.
Jury selection in the trial began Dec. 9. Final arguments concluded Wednesday.
Richard Collins' father and the county prosecutor are pledging to lobby the state legislature to change the law so that if racial animus is any part of a crime, it can still be charged as a hate crime.