The white man who stabbed and killed a Black U.S. Army lieutenant at a bus stop in 2017 has been sentenced to life in prison.
Sean Urbanski stabbed Richard Collins III as Collins stood at a bus stop on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park with friends around 3 a.m. on May 20, 2017. Collins, who was 23 at the time, was three days away from graduating with a business degree from Bowie State University, one of our nation’s HBCUs. He had also recently been commissioned through the ROTC as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
Urbanski, who was charged with first-degree murder as well as a state hate crime, was ultimately convicted of Collins’ murder, and on Thursday afternoon, Prince George’s County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence V. Hill Jr., denied the prosecution’s request for a sentence of life without the possibility of parole, instead sentencing Urbanski to life in prison, according to the Washington Post.
Judge Hill, delivering the sentence, compared what he saw as the parallel paths of both Urbanski and Collins.
The Post notes that the judge said “Both men had good parents, both were raised to value higher education,” adding that “there were clearly things about Urbanski that his family did not know.”
Hill, a Black man who previously dismissed the hate-crime charge in the case, said that he believed prejudice was a factor in the murder. Ultimately, he told that court that after reviewing dozens of letters and victim impact statements from both sides of the case, he believed his decision to be “fair and just.”
“Both their lives ended that night,” he said, the Post reports.
Urbanski, now 25, can be considered for parole after he serves 15 years of his sentence, but he can only be released if a recommendation is made by the state parole board and the governor of Maryland approves it.
Collins, as a reminder, is dead.
I would argue that only one life ended that night.
The other gets at least three hots and a cot for at least the next 15 years.
It ain’t fair. It’s not justice. It is, however, America.