Lawyers for a man charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of a Black student visiting the University of Maryland last year have asked a judge to bar “particularly offensive” evidence linking their client to an “Alt-Reich: Nation” Facebook page.
Sean Urbanski’s lawyers have argued that content from the now-deleted page is irrelevant and not connected to the May 2017 killing of Bowie State University student Richard Collins III, The Washington Post reported. Collins, who’d recently been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, was days shy of graduation when Urbanski, 23, stabbed him.
In a motion filed in a Prince George’s County court, attorneys William C. Brennan, Jr. and John M. McKenna argued that images and text message surveys found on Urbanski’s cell phone, along with the Facebook page, were “particularly offensive, extremely prejudicial, irrelevant and otherwise inadmissible” in the case against him. If allowed, such evidence would likely play a key role in whether prosecutors can prove Collins’ murder was racially motivated.
Urbanski is also charged with a hate crime in the brutal slaying.
“There’s genuine risk that the emotions of the jury concerning the cartoon images on the cell phone, the text message survey and the Facebook posting will be excited to irrational behavior concerning the alleged murder of Mr. Collins,” Urbanski’s attorney wrote in the motion. “The proffered evidence is more shocking than the underlying crime.”
Court documents show Collins was visiting friends at the University of Maryland and was waiting for an Uber around 3 a.m. when Urbanski approached and said,” Step left — step left if you know what’s good to you.” Two of Collins’ friends were waiting with him at the time.
The Bowie State student didn’t budge. Second’s later, Urbanski stabbed Collins with a folding knife in what police called a completely “unprovoked” attack. He fled the scene but was later caught by police.
Urbanski’s lawyers insist there is no connection between the suggested evidence and Collins’ murder and asked that it be barred. If the judge allows it, however, they asked that there be separate trials for the hate crime and murder charges.
According to WTOP, prosecutors for Prince George’s County said they plan to seek a life sentence without the possibility for parole for Urbanski’s murder charge. Meanwhile, the state penalty for a hate crime resulting in death carries a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Urbanski’s trial is scheduled for July.