Charlottesville man accused of running over protesters and killing woman claims “self-defense”
James Alex Fields Jr, the man who plowed his car through a crowd of counter-protesters at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year, is set to claim he committed the heinous act in self-defense.
According to WVIR, Fields’ attorney, John Hill told prospective jurors this week that his client will be claiming that he acted in self-defense during the incident that occurred last August that took the life of 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injured countless others.
Fields, 21, drove his Dodge Challenger into the crowd during the “Unite The Right” rally, and the heinous act was caught on video by bystanders. Surveillance video also showed a Dodge Challenger stopping about a block and a half away from the protesters, reversing, then driving into the crowd before speeding away in reverse.
A medical examiner had found that Heyer died because of the blunt-force injury she obtained from the car.
Fields has been charged with first-degree murder in Heyer’s death. He also faces five counts of malicious wounding, three counts of aggravated malicious wounding and one count of failing to stop at an accident involving a death.
Fields is also charged with hate crimes in a 30-count federal indictment. Prosecutors allege that Fields espoused white supremacist views and denounced minorities on social media before traveling from Ohio to Virginia for the rally.
Heyer, 32, had attended the rally to speak out against white supremacy and racism. Her friends and family say she died for her beliefs. Fields has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges.
Jury selection which began on Monday is expected to be finished by November 28th. Out of the estimated 360 that were found qualified to serve as jurors it appears 15 have been selected with 28 needed. From those, they will need to then seat a jury of 12 and have four alternates.
If convicted of first-degree murder Fields faces 20 years to life in prison.