UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WJZ) — Prosecutors and defense attorneys Wednesday argued over whether a 2017 killing at the University of Maryland College Park was motivated by racial hatred.

It was the first day of the hate crime trial of former University of Maryland student Sean Urbanski. Urbanski, who is white, is charged in the stabbing death of Lt. Richard Collins, III, who is black.

Jurors watched Urbanski stabbing Collins, who was waiting at a bus stop while visiting friends on campus.

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“He walked up to him and targeted him for no reason than him being a black man. He was the only black man at that bus stop at that time,” said Deputy State’s Attorney Jason Abbott.

 

Abbott said Urbanski “poisoned his mind” with racist images police found on his phone. He told the jury about Urbanski’s membership in the now-defunct Facebook group Alt Reich Nation and showed jurors racist memes Urbanski saved on his phone. 

But Urbanski’s defense attorney William Brennan noted his client said nothing about Collins’ race during the attack. He claimed Urbanski was “out-of-control” drunk at three times the legal limit.

 

“The state is attempting to make this case something it is not. They have used race to divide this community,“ Brennan said. “There was no evidence this was a planned, racially-motivated attack.“

 

He called the killing an “unspeakable tragedy for all concerned” 

 

“Sean Urbanski was so drunk he was unable to premeditate, unable to form the intent to kill,” Brennan said.

Collins’ parents left the courtroom when prosecutors played video of the homicide. It shows Urbanski approach Collins, who kept his hands at his sides, and stab him in the chest.

Jurors also heard from Officer Michael Thomas who performed CPR on Collins. “It wasn’t good,” he testified. “He was losing consciousness and his eyes were closing.”

Urbanski, from Anne Arundel County, is facing life in prison without parole if he is convicted.

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