Prosecutors will pursue a life sentence without parole for former University of Maryland student Sean Urbanski, who is charged with the murder of Bowie State University student Richard Collins.
Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks announced her intent to pursue such a punishment when Urbanski was indicted in July, but official paperwork was filed earlier this week.
"This was an unprovoked attack, and the state's attorney's office feels strongly that because of that, if Mr. Urbanski is convicted of first-degree murder, he should face the harshest possible punishment," said John Erzen, a spokesman for the office.
Urbanski's lawyer, William C. Brennan Jr., did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Urbanski, who is white, allegedly approached Collins, who was black, in the early hours of May 20, at the Montgomery Hall bus stop on this university's campus, telling him, "Step left, step left if you know what's good for you." Urbanski allegedly stabbed Collins, a 23-year-old newly commissioned second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, after he refused.
Urbanski, who was a member of the racist Facebook group "Alt-Reich: Nation," has not yet been charged with a hate crime, but Erven said this remains under review.
"We are still waiting for a few more things from the FBI with their investigation into the digital aspects of the case," he said, adding that Urbanski's membership in the Facebook group is among the factors being considered.
This university and Bowie State held a minute-long moment of silence Wednesday in Collins' honor, halting food and transportation services and urging students, faculty and staff to remain silent for the minute's duration.
University President Wallace Loh, who recently named the chairs of a task force that will assess campus diversity response to hate bias incidents, observed the moment in the Stamp Student Union.
"It sends a signal that we're honoring what he stood for — his life," he said, "and also that we are committed to improving our diversity, our inclusiveness and our respect for each other."