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The hate crime trial is underway for a University of Maryland student accused of the fatal stabbing of Bowie State University student Richard Collins III back in May 2017.

According to WJLA, Prince George’s County prosecutors are saying Sean Urbanski killed Collins, who was visiting UMD’s campus, because Urbanski was biased against Black people. Meanwhile, the defense seems to be playing the old white sympathy card, saying Urbanski was drunk and upset about his friends graduating a year ahead of him.

Prosecutors kicked off the trial Wednesday, telling jurors that Urbanski had “poisoned” his mind beginning in 2016 with offensive humor and racist imagery. They argued that when he saw newly commissioned Army 2nd Lt. Richard Collins with a white man and an Asian woman at a University of Maryland bus stop, he carried out a targeted, premeditated murder.

They directly said in court that Urbanski “killed Collins for no reason other than he was Black.” The evidence they cited included racist memes on his phone and his apparent Facebook membership to a racist White Supremacist group called “Alt-Reich: Nation.”

Defense attorneys hit back at the prosecution saying that there is no evidence of a motive. They argued that Urbanski was so drunk that he didn’t even know what he did and he was possibly upset because that evening, his friends were celebrating graduation and Urbanski had fallen a year behind. The defense insisted the hate crime allegation is speculation and the crime “was about place, not race.”

Richard Collins’ father took to the stand on Wednesday to testify and he explained to jurors that he and his wife were elated about their son’s Army commission and coming graduation from Bowie State, and they described him as a go-getter who loved to meet folks no matter their race.

Collins died just three days before he was scheduled to graduate from Bowie State University, a historically Black college.

His death sparked vigils and a march on the University of Maryland campus. Two folks who didn’t know him showed up to the court on Wednesday wearing “Justice for Richard” t-shirts. The judge requested that these shirts be covered up.

If convicted, Urbanski faces life in prison without parole, according to CBS13.


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