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Crime White man who stabbed Black college student to death in Maryland sentenced to life in prison

23:06  15 january  2021
23:06  15 january  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

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A white man was sentenced to life in prison Thursday for fatally stabbing a Black college student in what prosecutors described as a racially motivated hate crime on the University of Maryland’s main campus in 2017.

a man wearing a uniform standing in front of a flag: This undated photo provided by the U.S. Army shows Richard Collins III. Sean Urbanski, who stabbed Collins to death at a bus stop on the University of Maryland's flagship College Park campus, was sentenced Jan. 14, 2021, to life in prison for what prosecutors claimed was a racially motivated hate crime. © U.S. Army via AP This undated photo provided by the U.S. Army shows Richard Collins III. Sean Urbanski, who stabbed Collins to death at a bus stop on the University of Maryland's flagship College Park campus, was sentenced Jan. 14, 2021, to life in prison for what prosecutors claimed was a racially motivated hate crime.

A jury convicted Sean Urbanski, 25, of first-degree murder for the death of Richard Collins III, a newly commissioned Army lieutenant, in December 2019.

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On the night of his murder, Collins was days away from graduating from Bowie State University, a historically Black college, and was celebrating with a friend at bars. His mother, Dawn Collins said "he was on a pinnacle of doing great things,” at a press conference Thursday.

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“He had aspired to be the next Gen. Colin Powell,” Collins said. “And there was nothing that was going to stop him.”

Urbanski, who was enrolled at the University of Maryland’s College Park campus, was also drinking with friends at bars that night. Early in the morning on May 20, 2017, Urbanski approached Collins at a bus stop where he was waiting with two people, a white man and an Asian woman. Urbanski brandished a knife.

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“Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you,” Urbanski told them, according to police.

Collins said no and Urbanski stabbed him once in his chest. He then sat down on a bench until police arrived and arrested him.

a smiling young man in a blue shirt: This undated photo provided by the University of Maryland Police Department shows Sean Urbanski. Urbanski, who stabbed a Black college student to death at a bus stop on the University of Maryland's flagship College Park campus, was sentenced, Jan. 14, 2021, to life in prison for what prosecutors claimed was a racially motivated hate crime. © University of Maryland Police Department via AP This undated photo provided by the University of Maryland Police Department shows Sean Urbanski. Urbanski, who stabbed a Black college student to death at a bus stop on the University of Maryland's flagship College Park campus, was sentenced, Jan. 14, 2021, to life in prison for what prosecutors claimed was a racially motivated hate crime.

Prosecutors said alcohol and racist propaganda emboldened Urbanksi to act on his hatred of Black people. Urbanksi was part of several alt-right Facebook groups that shared racist images, according to Prince George’s County state’s attorney, Aisha Braveboy.

At a press conference after the sentencing, Braveboy said the hate that drove Urbanksi to murder was the same hate that fueled the riot at the US Capitol on Jan. 6.

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"It cannot and will not be tolerated," she said. "Hate kills and it killed this young man."

Defense attorneys argued there was no evidence of a racial motive for the killing.

Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Hill Jr. dismissed a hate crime charge against Urbanski saying that prosecutors didn’t meet their legal burden of showing that racial hatred motivated Urbanski to stab Collins. But the judge said Thursday that he believes race and alcohol both were factors in the killing

Collins' parents have successfully lobbied to enact legislation named after their son which changed the state's hate crime law. Prosecutors now don't have to prove hate is the only motivating factor in committing a crime.

a man standing in front of a crowd: Marquise Wade, from left, sophomore class president, and Darrin Branch, coordinator of Greek Life on campus, set up a picture of Richard Collins III for a memorial vigil for Collins, who was killed Saturday at the University of Maryland in College Park, as they gather at Bowie State's auditorium in Bowie, Md., Monday, May 22, 2017. Authorities appealed for patience Monday from two college communities reacting in shock, fear and anger after a white University of Maryland student was arrested in what police called the unprovoked stabbing of a black Bowie State University student. © Kenneth K. Lam Marquise Wade, from left, sophomore class president, and Darrin Branch, coordinator of Greek Life on campus, set up a picture of Richard Collins III for a memorial vigil for Collins, who was killed Saturday at the University of Maryland in College Park, as they gather at Bowie State's auditorium in Bowie, Md., Monday, May 22, 2017. Authorities appealed for patience Monday from two college communities reacting in shock, fear and anger after a white University of Maryland student was arrested in what police called the unprovoked stabbing of a black Bowie State University student.

Although prosecutors had sought the maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, Urbanksi will be eligible for parole, Braveboy said. Dawn and Richard Collins Jr. expressed disappointment that Urbanski didn't receive the maximum sentence Thursday.

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Urbanski apologized to Collins' parents during the hearing for the “horrible pain” he caused them and said he wishes he could “go back and change what happened."

“There hasn’t been a day that’s gone by where I haven’t thought about what I’ve done to you, and if I could switch places with your son I would in a heartbeat,” Urbanski said.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Follow N'dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: White man who stabbed Black college student to death in Maryland sentenced to life in prison

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