Man sentenced in killing of Black Army Lt. Richard Collins III
'My son’s greatest crime,' Collins' mother told the Maryland court, 'was that he said no to a white man.'
Sean Urbanski has been sentenced to life in prison for the 2017 murder of Army Lieutenant Richard Collins III.
Urbanski, 25, stabbed Collins to death on the College Park campus of University of Maryland after approaching him and two friends at an area bus stop. Collins was the only Black man awaiting the bus.
Prosecutors say Urbanski ordered Collins to “step left if you know what’s best for you.” When he wouldn’t, Urbanski stabbed him in the chest with a three-inch pocket knife.
“My son’s greatest crime,” his mother, Dawn Collins, said at the Prince George’s County Circuit Court sentencing hearing Thursday, “was that he said no to a white man.”
Collins, 23, was killed just three days before his graduation from Bowie State University with a degree in business.
Urbanski was charged with a hate crime in addition to first-degree murder charges. However, the hate crime charge was thrown out after Judge Lawrence Hill ruled prosecutors had failed to prove Collins was killed specifically because he was Black.
At Urbanski’s sentencing, Hill said, “I don’t believe that this case is, frankly, everything that either side has made it out to be.”
Urbanski’s attorneys had argued that he was drunk and his crime was fueled by his intoxicated state, which was three times the legal limit. “Sean was stupid drunk,” defense attorney John McKenna told jurors. “The only poison in his brain was alcohol. He was a stupid, drunk college kid.”
However, prosecutors told the jurors Urbanski was a member of a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich: Nation” and shared that he kept racist memes saved in his phone.
Urbanski has been sentenced to serve his sentence at Pawtuxent Institution, which serves young offenders, and his sentence also has the possibility of parole.
A Maryland law named after Collins was passed in March of 2020. The 2nd Lieutenant Richard Collins III Law expanded the state’s definition of a hate crime to include violent acts that are even partially hate-motivated.
In court Thursday, Urbanski apologized to the Collins family, saying in “one senseless drunken night, I have hurt so many people.”
“If I could switch places with your son,” he told them, “I would do it in a heartbeat.”