A number of survivors of a white supremacist’s attack in Charlottesville, Va., last year told their stories on the first full day of the murder trial of James Fields Jr., the Ohio man who struck a group of counterprotesters.
“The only thing I was thinking about was getting my fiancé out of the way,” Marcus Martin, one of the survivors, testified at the trial in Charlottesville. Martin’s left tibia and ankle were broken in the attack.
“I pushed her, and then I got hit,” he said, according to BuzzFeed News. “I didn’t know what happened until later.”
Fields has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Heather Heyer, along with three counts of malicious wounding resulting in severe injury and permanent, significant physical impairment; five counts of malicious wounding; and one count of failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving a death.
Earlier this week during jury selection, Fields’ attorneys attempted to claim that he was acting in self-defense when he ran over the protesters. In opening statements, they argued he only ran the group over because he was in fear for his life.
“You’re here to decide why this event took place,” attorney John Hill said. “Was Mr. Fields in fear of serious bodily injury or death?”
Hill claimed that the protesters had attacked Fields’ car and another was running up the street with a handgun.
“This case isn’t about what he did, it’s about what his intent was,” prosecutor Nina-Alice Antony said.
Prosecution witnesses said they saw Fields drive up to the scene, put the car in reverse, wait, and then speed into the crowd, sending bodies flying into the air everywhere.
“I took a couple steps and took a leap of faith,” Bryan Henderson said, the news outlet wrote. “I threw my arms up like Superman, but the car caught my hip and flipped me upward.”
Henderson nearly lost his left arm, and was left with permanent nerve damage.
“I used to be a big kid with my 2-year-old,” he testified, BuzzFeed wrote. “I’ll never be able to hang on the monkey bars like I once could.”
The trial is scheduled to continue on Friday.