Ex-U.Md. student indicted for murder in death of Army officer

WASHINGTON — A former University of Maryland student has been indicted on a charge of murder for the May 20 slaying of Richard Collins III, a lieutenant in the Army who was fatally stabbed on the College Park campus days before he was set to graduate from Bowie State University.

A Prince George’s County grand jury indicted Sean Urbanski Thursday. Under Maryland law, a jury could convict him of first- or second-degree murder, manslaughter or find him not guilty.

But Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks told reporters during a news conference Thursday afternoon her office is still investigating the motive in the stabbing, including whether Collins, who is black, was attacked because of his race.

And so far, there’s not enough evidence to bring hate crime charges, she said.

Prosecutors also said they will seek an enhanced penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole for Urbanski and revealed that video evidence captured Collins’ fatal stabbing.

Soon after Collins’ death, University of Maryland police asked for the FBI’s help after learning that Urbanski, who is white, appeared to be involved in a Facebook group that posts racist information.

The FBI is reviewing material from multiple digital devices, Alsobrooks said. Investigators, have not yet turned up any other evidence similar to the “Alt-Reich Nation” Facebook group.

“So far based on what we have, we have to continue to investigate,” she said. “We didn’t have enough today” to bring hate crime charges.

Determining a motive is often the most difficult part of a murder case, Alsobrooks said.

“To understand exactly why this happened is important to us … It’s important to us to get it right, that we not rush to announce something before we’re able to,” she said.

Urbanski was enrolled at Maryland at the time Collins was stabbed.

In charging documents, prosecutors say that Collins and his friends were waiting for an Uber ride, at about 3 a.m., when they heard Urbanski screaming as he approached them.

Urbanski approached the group screaming: “Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you.” When Collins said “no,” prosecutors said that Urbanski stabbed him.

WTOP’s Jack Moore contributed to this report. 

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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