On Thursday, the man charged with killing Second Lt.Richard Collins III in a crime motivated by hate, was due in a Maryland court. According to reports, his attorneys are arguing that offensive (read: racist) content found on his cell phone and computer after his arrest should be barred from his upcoming murder trial.
Sean Urbanski, 24 was a part of a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich: Nation.” On his phone, cartoon images associated with white nationalism and group messages that highlight his racist views were uncovered. Urbanski’s lawyers claim the material is not relevant to the hate crime charge he is now facing. Prosecutors disagree.
Attorneys responsible for charging the defendant believe the evidence further establishes that Collins’ stabbing was race-related.
On May 20, 2017, Collins, a graduating senior at Bowie State University was visiting the University of Maryland College Park campus. He was waiting with two friends for a ride when, according to police, Urbanski approached the group and fatally stabbed Collins with a folding knife. University of Maryland police assessed that the killing was completely unprovoked.
Though Urbanski’s lawyers call the evidence in question, “particularly offensive, extremely prejudicial, highly inflammatory, irrelevant and not otherwise admissible,” according to the Washington Post, Prosecutors say the material will help with a possible conviction of first-degree murder, opposed to the second-degree murder charge now on the table.
Prosecutors strongly believe that Collins was targeted that night over everybody else because he was African American. In February, Collins’ family announced a scholarship in his honor at Bowie State University, his alma mater.
Thursday’s hearing was delayed and rescheduled for June 5 due to the defendant arriving late to trial.