A circuit court judge has ruled Prince George’s County prosecutors cannot call an expert witness to explain the Alt-Reich white nationalism group to jurors in next week’s murder and hate crime trial of Sean Urbanski.
Urbanski is charged with first-degree murder and a hate crime in the May 2017 death of U.S. Army Lt. Richard Collins III, who was fatally stabbed after visiting friends on the campus of University of Maryland.
In a ruling issued Monday, Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Hill said prosecutors only gave Urbanski’s lawyers 30 days notice that they intended to call Jessie Daniels as an expert witness to testify about the Alt-Reich group’s history, origins, ideology and members. Daniels, a professor, is working on a book to be entitled “Tweetstorm: The Rise of the ‘Alt-Right’ and the Mainstreaming of White Nationalism.”
Hill also said jurors did not need an expert to explain the Alt-Reich: “It is a common term to generally describe a group that expresses a white supremacist ideology.”
Prosecutors will still be able to present evidence that Urbanski was apparently a member of the “Alt-Reich Nation” Facebook group, and the jury can decide the importance of his engagement with the group.
Urbanski faces a maximum of life in prison with no chance of parole if convicted of first-degree murder, and 20 years if convicted of a state hate crime resulting in death.
Jury selection begins Dec. 9.