A lawyer for a white University of Maryland student accused of fatally stabbing a black Bowie State University student said alcohol and substance abuse may have been factors in a case that also is being investigated as a hate crime, the Washington Post reports. The attack on Richard Collins III unnerved students and administrators at both universities, which are in the middle of commencement celebrations. What should have been a joyous occasion turned into mourning for friends and family of Collins, 23, who was slain two days after being commissioned in the U.S. Army, and just before he was to graduate from Bowie State. Collins was visiting two friends on the University of Maryland campus Saturday when police say he was attacked by student Sean Urbanski, 22.
Urbanski was charged with murder and assault in what police said was a “totally unprovoked” attack. Judge Patrice Lewis said there was “clear and convincing” evidence that Urbanski “is an absolute danger to the community” before ordering that he remain in jail pending trial. Urbanski’s attorney, William Brennan, told the judge that “alcohol and substance abuse may have played a significant role in all of this.” The FBI joined the investigation to determine whether the attack was a hate crime. Urbanski appeared to have been involved in an online Facebook group that posts racist material, police and FBI officials said.