Judge drops hate crime charges against man charged with fatally stabbing black man

A Maryland judge on Tuesday dropped hate crimes charges against a white man charged with murder in the fatal stabbing a black university student in 2017, according to NBC4.

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In the Tuesday ruling, Prince George’s County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Hill Jr. ruled that prosecutors had not met the legal standard to demonstrate that Sean Urbanski was motivated by racial hatred when he stabbed Richard Collins III to death in May 2017. Urbanski does not dispute that he stabbed Collins.

The prosecution had cited numerous racist memes Urbanski had saved on his phone, as well as his alleged membership in a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich: Nation.” His defense had denied that he advocated violence against any racial or ethnic group, and said he was extremely drunk when he stabbed Collins, who had recently been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

A witness called by the defense said that Urbanski’s blood alcohol level was too high for the stabbing to be considered premeditated under the law.

Urbanski is still charged with Collins’s murder. His attorney, William Brennan, said Tuesday that Hill will instruct the jury on both first- and second-degree murder charges ahead of deliberations. The state is seeking a life sentence without possibility of parole if Urbanski is convicted on the first-degree charges.

The prosecution rested its case Monday while the defense wrapped up Tuesday. Closing arguments are slated for Wednesday.

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