The tragic killing of Bowie State University student Richard Collins III was especially heartbreaking as it occurred right before he was set to walk across the graduation stage. His killer, University of Maryland student Sean Urbanski, was charged with first and second-degree murder as well as first-degree assault.
No hate crime charge was issued at the time, which was side-eye worthy since Urbanski was a member of the Facebook white supremacist group, Alt-Reich: Nation. Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks had noted there wasn't enough evidence at the time to implement a hate crime charge.
Alsobrooks has recently confirmed that the grand jury has returned an indictment on an additional charge of hate crime based on digital evidence found on Urbanski's phone and elsewhere, according to NBC News. "What we're saying is that race, that Lieutenant Collins' death, that he was killed because of his race," Alsobrooks told news conference reporters, adding that the digital evidence will be presented during trial.
The hate charge means Urbanski could face a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole, plus 20 years, which prosecutors are seeking.
"This family is grieving, like any other family," said Alsobrooks after she informed Collins' family of the hate crime charge. "I don't know that there is anything that can ever be done to really completely heal a wound like this, when they lost their son."
Bowie State released an official statement on Twitter after the hate charge was confirmed.
A statement from Bowie State @presbreaux on the hate crime indictment in the death of 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III. pic.twitter.com/yqng1X310D— Bowie State Uni. (@BowieState) October 17, 2017