UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WJZ) — Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy announced Tuesday the successful passage of legislation to strengthen Maryland’s hate crime statute.
Lawmakers passed Senate Bill 606 (SB606) and House Bill 917 (HB917). The legislation strengthens the current statute, clarifying that hate does not have to be the sole motivation for a hate crime.
The family of Richard Collins III pushed for an expansion of Maryland’s hate crime law following a jury finding their son’s killer guilty of first-degree murder.
Collins, a Bowie State University student, was murdered on the University of Maryland College Park campus in 2017 while visiting friends.
Police found racist memes on the phone of his murderer, Sean Urbanski.
Urbanski was also a member of Alt Reich Nation, a racist Facebook group. Prosecutors argued there was a “direct connection” between those memes and his stabbing.
They said Urbanski “poisoned his mind” and “targeted” Collins because of the color of his skin.
Urbanski’s lawyers said their client did not target Collins and blamed his “out of control” drunkenness.
The day before the verdict, Judge Lawrence Hill dropped the hate crime charge against Urbanski. He said prosecutors failed to meet their burden of proof in the case.
After Governor Hogan’s signature, it is anticipated that these laws will become effective on October 1, 2020.