Memorial to Murdered Bowie State Student on UMD Campus – NBC4 Washington
The University of Maryland and the family of 1st Lt. Richard W. Collins III on Wednesday dedicated a plaza honoring the slain Bowie State University student on the UMD campus.
Collins was days away from graduating from Bowie State and was commissioned into the US military when he was fatally stabbed in May 2017 in what prosecutors said was a racially motivated crime. He was 23 years old.
The memorial plaza will overlook the bus stop where Sean Urbanski, a white man, approached Collins, a black man, and stabbed him in the chest.
Collins’ family said they hope the memorial “reflects the best of us”.
“When you visit the square, reflect on your hopes and dreams. Be inspired by the spirit of my son, his patriotism, his dedication to his military career and his passion for pursuing his dreams,” said the family said in a statement, “Our wish is that Collins Square will be an enduring and symbolic place at the University of Maryland that repudiates all forms of hate and bigotry.”
UMD President Darryll J. Pines said in a statement, “We must never forget what happened here on our campus, and we will continue to honor the life of Lt. Richard Collins as we pursue an anti-racist and inclusive culture at our university. ”
The plaza will have a fountain, benches, a plaque with Collins’ photo and a mural intended to “illustrate peace, justice and unity”, the UMD said.
Urbanski was convicted of first degree murder in December 2019 and sentenced in January 2021 to life in prison.
Prosecutors said a mixture of alcohol and racist propaganda motivated Urbanski to act on black hatred. Urbanski’s attorney argued that there was no evidence or testimony to support a racial motive for the murder.
A judge dismissed a hate crime charge against Urbanski before jurors began deliberating, ruling that prosecutors had failed in their legal duty to show that racial hatred motivated Urbanski to stab Collins.
In a law named after Collins, Maryland later strengthened its hate crime law so prosecutors would not have to prove that hate was the sole motivating factor for committing a crime.
The memorial to Collins is expected to be completed in May.