Minutes after the man who murdered Heather Heyer was sentenced to life in prison for driving his car into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, her mother expressed support for the parents of Army Lt. Richard Collins III, who was murdered in 2017 at the University of Maryland.
“Dawn and Rick Collins — their son Lt. Richard Collins was stabbed to death on May 20, and that case still has not come to trial,” Susan Bro told reporters outside Charlottesville Circuit Court, where James Alex Fields Jr. was sentenced to life in prison plus 419 years on state charges for Heyer’s murder and the injuring of others. Last month, Fields was sentenced to serve two life sentences for federal hate crimes.
While the possibility of years of appeals exists, Bro said she was “grateful that we were able to close this out” on Monday with the completion of the final scheduled trial.
Heyer was killed on Aug. 12, 2017, and Bro empathized with Collins’ parents in that Sean Urbanski has sought — and been granted — a fourth delay in his Maryland murder and hate crime trial.
“I at least have a measure of justice,” said Bro. “They do not have a sense of justice yet, and it just keeps getting continued, and continued, and continued.”
Bro and Heyer’s stepfather have met with Collins’ parents, according to a Facebook post for the 2LT Richard W. Collins III Foundation. Bro was co-founder of the Heather Heyer Foundation.
Both organizations seek equal justice for all people.
“It was a heartbreaking and meaningful meeting,” Bro told WTOP. “They need to be able to feel that same measure of release I feel.”
Bro said a friend of hers knew the Collins family and suggested they meet. Bro said she promised the Collins family she would remind people of their son’s case.
“There’s never closure, but justice for a murdered child helps,” Bro said. “Angel parents support one another however we can.”
As WTOP reported, the Collins family is seeking military honors for their son. An initial request was denied because he was killed before he was on active duty.
On Monday, U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and fellow Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., met with Dawn and Richard Collins as they work to seek an exception that would allow him to receive military honors.
Appreciated the opportunity to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Collins to my office this afternoon. We continue to grieve the loss of 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, & @repanthonybrown & I will continue to work to ensure his memory is honored with the respect he deserves. pic.twitter.com/ezDsnEWxUc
— Steny Hoyer (@LeaderHoyer) July 16, 2019
Last week, Hoyer, Brown and Maryland senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen sent a letter to Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy.
“We are aware that the Army has found ways to honor those who might not have been on active duty status at the time of their death. Peter Wang was honored with admission to the United States Military Academy for his heroic actions when he was killed helping students escape a school shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. Riley Howell, a University of North Carolina-Charlotte student and ROTC cadet, was honored with full military honors for his actions in charging and tackling a gunman who opened fire in a UNC classroom.”
The Maryland lawmakers said “We are asking for a meeting to discuss ways in which the Army can honor 2LT Collins.”
Collins was killed two days after he was commissioned, after three years of ROTC scholarship at Bowie State University.