The Latest: Deputy says Fields apologized after deadly crash
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a man accused of deliberately driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally, killing one and injuring dozens more. (all times local):
A Virginia sheriff’s deputy has told jurors that a man who drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally said, “I’m so sorry” after he was apprehended.
Charlottesville Deputy Sheriff Paul Critzer was called by the defense as attorneys for James Alex Fields Jr. began presenting their case Tuesday.
Critzer said he chased and arrested Fields after recognizing his Dodge Challenger as a car implicated in a hit-and-run of a pedestrian in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017.
Critzer said Fields appeared calm and apologized after being handcuffed.
Prosecutors say Fields attended the rally to support white nationalists who were protesting the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. They say he deliberately drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters.
Fields’ lawyers say he was “scared to death” when he drove into the crowd after witnessing violent clashes between the two sides earlier in the day.
Prosecutors have rested their case against an Ohio man accused of killing a woman and injuring dozens when he drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia last year.
The defense is set to begin presenting its case Tuesday afternoon to jurors in the trial of James Alex Fields Jr., who is charged with killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens at the 2017 rally in Charlottesville.
Lawyers plan to call witnesses to support Fields’ claim that he was acting in self-defense when he drove into the crowd.
Jurors have watched an interrogation video of a man accused of killing a woman and injuring dozens when he drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia last year.
In the video played for jurors Tuesday at the trial of James Alex Fields Jr. Fields began to cry and hyperventilate after police told him a woman had died and other people had been injured.
Jurors also heard two recorded phone calls to his mother from jail. News outlets reported that in one call, Fields said he had been mobbed “by a violent group of terrorists” at the rally. In another, Fields referred to the mother of the woman who was killed as a “communist” and “one of those anti-white supremacists.”
Prosecutors say Fields deliberately drove into the counterprotesters. His lawyers say he was “scared to death” after violent clashes between white nationalists and counterprotesters earlier that day.
Jurors in the trial of a man accused of driving into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally have viewed a meme he posted on Instagram showing bodies thrown into the air after a car hits a crowd of people.
An FBI staff operations specialist who analyzed the Facebook and Instagram accounts of James Alex Fields Jr. testified Tuesday that Fields posted the meme publicly to his Instagram page and sent a similar image as a private message to a friend in May 2017. That was three months before his car plowed into a group of people marching against white nationalists in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017.
One counterprotester was killed and dozens more were injured.
Fields’ lawyers had argued that the memes were unfairly prejudicial to Fields, but prosecutors said they show his state of mind. Judge Richard Moore allowed the jury to see the images.
A judge is allowing jurors to see a text message including an image of Adolf Hitler that was sent by the man who drove into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia.
News outlets report Judge Richard Moore ruled Tuesday that prosecutors can show the text James Alex Fields Jr. sent his mother days before the 2017 rally. It was a response to his mother’s plea to be careful. Fields wrote “we’re not the one (sic) who need to be careful,” accompanied by Hitler’s image.
Fields’ attorneys argued that the image would prejudice the jury. But the judge said it shows intent or motive of violence.
Fields, of Maumee, Ohio, is charged with killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens with his car.