Jury to hear opening statements in man’s hate crime trial

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP) — Jurors are expected to hear attorneys’ opening statements on Wednesday for the trial of a white man charged with fatally stabbing a black college student on the University of Maryland’s campus.

Sean Urbanski, 24, is charged with first-degree murder and a hate crime in the May 2017 killing of Richard Collins III. Collins, 23, was a Bowie State University student who had recently been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

Jury selection for Urbanski’s trial in Prince George’s County, Maryland, began on Monday.

Collins had been visiting friends on the College Park campus on the night of his death. He and two friends were waiting at a bus stop for a ride from an Uber driver when Urbanski approached them and said, “Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you,” according to police.

“No,” Collins said before Urbanski allegedly stabbed him once in his chest with a knife.

Prosecutors have said Urbanski was motivated by a bias against black people. Urbanski liked a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich: Nation” and saved at least six photographs of racist memes on his phone, according to prosecutors.

Defense attorneys say there is no evidence of a racist motive for the killing. Witnesses told police Urbanski was drunk and screaming incoherently when he approached the friends, one of his lawyers has said.

Urbanski faces a possible sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted.

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