The trial for James Alex Fields, the man accused of murdering Heather Heyer and injuring at least eight others with his car during the second day of the White Nationalist “Unite the Right rally,” in Charlottesville, Virginia, began last week on Monday with the jury selection at the Charlottesville Circuit Court with Judge Richard Moore presiding, according to local Charlottesville NBC 29.
Opening statements began on Thursday, Nov 29.
CNN reports (video) that on Monday testimony resumed and that prosecutors in the case say they “could rest their case as early as Tuesday.”
Fields, who is 21 years old, “faces a possible life sentence if convicted of first-degree murder,” and is also charged with eight counts of malicious wounding for injury to other people and one count of “failing to stop at an accident involving a death.”
Fields also faces “dozens of federal charges for the same incident.”
Twenty-one-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. appeared in a federal courtroom Thursday, July 5. He is charged with one count of a hate crime act resulting in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, one count of racially motivated violent interference with a federally protected activity, and 28 counts of hate crime acts causing bodily injury and involving an attempt to kill.NBC29; July 5 2018
The Commonwealth of Virginia “contends that Field’s actions were premeditated with the intention to harm the counterprotesters,” and have painted a picture of Fields being a Nazi sympathizer who had “acted out” on his anger.
Prosecutors called as witnesses’ people who knew Fields from his high school in Ohio who testified he “held extreme views and a fascination with Nazism.”
Testimony from Steve Young, a Detective with the Charlottesville Police, talked about video footage that captured Fields a short time before the incident showed, “Fields chanting homophobic and anti-Semitic slurs as he marched with others,” and that “helicopter footage shows his car driving into the crowd,” a short time after.
On Friday, the Commonwealth shared documents for court on the Charlottesville city website they intended to use evidence showing images Fields posted to his Instagram social media account three months before.
According to a CNN report from contributor Sara Sidner, who is part of the press attending the trial, reported on the Don Lemon show that Monday prosecutors also introduced text messages between Fields and his mother.
A text message sent via SMS on 8/8/17 at 9:09 p.m., to (redacted) (a number identified as “Mom”) reading: “I got the weekend off, so I’ll be able to go to the rally;
A text message sent via SMS on 8/10/18 at 7:56, from “Mom” to Fields, reading: “Be Careful”;
A text message sent via MMS on 8/11/17 at 3:31 p.m., from Fields to “Mom,” reading: “We’re not the one (sic) who need to be careful”;
The trial resumes Tuesday morning, at 9:00 am. Prosecutors said they expect to rest their case by noon.
“CNN’s Sara Sidner reports on the disturbing rise in hate crimes in the US.”