James Alex Fields Charged With Murder in Charlottesville, Denied Bail
James Alex Fields Jr. allegedly rammed his car through a crowd of people Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, resulting in the death of one woman and injuries to 19 others. He has been charged with second-degree murder and is being held without bail at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.
Here is video from the scene:
Video of driving through crowd of protesters in #Charlottesville
— Severin Jahn (@severin_jahn) August 12, 2017
Fields, 20, is from Ohio and said he could not afford a lawyer. The local public defender’s office said it could not represent him due to a conflict of interest; one of their employees has a relative connected to the violent altercations that occurred over the weekend. Judge Robert Downer appointed Charles “Buddy” Weber to represent Fields.
According to reports, Fields was in Charlottesville in support of white supremacists who had come to protest the potential removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from the town square. It was one of the largest public gatherings of white nationalists in recent memory.
A large group of counter-protestors met the so-called “alt-right” supporters in Charlottesville. Numerous violent incidents broke out, and police had difficulties dispersing crowds and keeping the two sides separated.
President Trump spoke briefly on Saturday: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.” He was widely criticized for saying “many sides” were to blame, rather than the white supremacists like Fields.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions told ABC News that Fields actions would “meet the definition of domestic terrorism.” Sessions added, “You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation towards the most serious charges that can be brought, because this is unequivocally an unacceptable, evil attack. Terrorism investigators from the FBI are working on the case as well as civil rights division FBI agents.”
One of Fields’ former teachers said that as far back as ninth grade, he had been fascinated by Nazism and Adolf Hitler. Numerous neo-Nazi groups were present over the weekend.
The woman who was killed Saturday has been identified as Heather Heyer, 32, was in Charlottesville to demonstrate against the alt-right and in support of civil rights. Friends and supporters of Heyer gathered for a vigil Sunday night to remember her and honor the causes she fought for.
Authorities are continuing to investigate the tragic events on Saturday.