The quest for justice for Richard Collins III, the Bowie State University student fatally stabbed two years ago on the campus of the University of Maryland in what prosecutors say was a hate crime, was delayed when a judge postponed a hearing Thursday on whether evidence of the suspect’s membership in a racist Facebook group should be admitted.
Defense attorneys representing Sean Urbanski appeared in Maryland’s Prince George’s County Circuit Court Thursday to fight prosecutors’ desire to present evidence that Urbanski belonged to a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich Nation,” the Associated Press reports.
But the judge postponed the pretrial hearing until next week because Urbanski wasn’t brought to court from jail on time.
Urbanski, now 24, is accused of walking up to Collins May 20, 2017, and stabbing him as Collins waited with friends for a ride at a bus stop on the University of Maryland campus.
Collins, 23, who was about to graduate from Bowie State and had recently been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, died.
Prosecutors charge Urbanski targeted Collins because he was the only African American in the group. They want to present as evidence of his racial hatred texts and images from his phone and social media, including membership in the now-deleted Facebook group Alt-Reich Nation.
“The recovered data” proves that “the Defendant purposefully chose to stab Mr. Collins, over anyone else at the bus stop that night, because Mr. Collins is an African American,” prosecutors wrote in court filings, the Washington Post reports.
Conversely, Urbanski’s attorneys have argued the content is “particularly offensive, extremely prejudicial, highly inflammatory, irrelevant and not otherwise admissible.”
The rescheduled hearing on whether the evidence can be admitted is set for June 5.