Published: Sun, December 17, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Man Who Rammed Crowd at Charlottesville Rally Charged With First-Degree Murder

Man Who Rammed Crowd at Charlottesville Rally Charged With First-Degree Murder

James Alex Fields Jr, of Maumee, Ohio, was charged with second-degree murder and is now being held at Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

Many other people were also hurt in the incident. Besides first-degree murder, Fields, who lived in OH before his arrest, is charged with eight counts of "aggravated malicious wounding", meaning that at least eight of the 35 people who were hurt suffered what Virginia law describes as "permanent and significant physical impairment".

Charles Weber, a local attorney, is appointed to represent the 20-year-old Fields.

Hundreds of white nationalists convened in Charlottesville on 12 August to protest against the removal of a statue of Gen Robert E Lee, who had fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the US Civil War.

After hearing evidence in Commonwealth v. Richard Preston, Judge Robert H. Downer, Jr. granted the Commonwealth's motion to certify one felony count of discharging a firearm within 1000 feet of a school.

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Antony also played video footage from the Virginia State Police helicopter that followed the Dodge after it was seen plowing through the crowd.

The video shows counterprotesters gathered at Fourth and Water streets in downtown Charlottesville.

"Oh, s--!" one of them said. Fields, who calls himself a neo-Nazi, is facing first-degree murder.

Under most USA jurisdictions, first-degree murder implies that an attack is premeditated and planned, whereas second-degree murder suggests no premeditation.

Another surveillance video from a restaurant showed the vehicle head slowly in what Young testified was the direction of the counterprotesters, who were not in view of the camera. One man shouted an expletive as he abruptly stood and left the courtroom, prompting the judge to admonish spectators to remain quiet. That testimony was apparently meant to undercut any argument that Mr. Fields had been under attack.

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Detective Young, the sole witness at the hearing, said under questioning by Mr. Fields's lawyer, Denise Lunsford, that investigators had found no evidence that Mr. Fields was affiliated with any of the groups assembled that day. Never saying a word, Fields often kept his eyes trained on the table in front of him, but occasionally looked up to watch the proceedings.

During her cross-examination of Young, Lunsford asked if searches of Fields' computer, phone or social media revealed any evidence that he was part of Vanguard America or any other white nationalist group. When Fields was told someone had died, he appeared shocked and sobbed, Young said.

Fields, who traveled to Charlottesville from his home in Maumee, Ohio, has a long history of fascination and admiration for the racist ideology and militarism of Nazi Germany, according to acquaintances in Kentucky, where he grew up, and Ohio, where he moved as an adult.

As he approached him, Young said Fields kept repeating, "I'm sorry", and asking if everyone was OK.

Author information: Paul Duggan is a crime reporter for The Washington Post.

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