James Fields indicted on first-degree murder in Charlottesville car attack

Grand jury hands down 10 charges
Posted at 6:19 PM, Dec 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-19 14:13:09-05

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -  A former Northern Kentucky man was indicted on first-degree murder and nine other charges Tuesday in the Charlottesville car attack that killed a woman last August.

The first-degree murder charge indicates that police believe James Fields, 32, of Maumee, Ohio, planned the attack that killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer, a Charlottesville paralegal who was among the counterprotesters demonstrating against a white supremacist march.

Police say Fields, originally charged with second-degree murder, also injured 32 others when he drove his car into the counterprotesters on Aug. 12.

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Fields, who attended Cooper High School in Union, Kentucky, was also indicted on one felony count of hit-and-run, five felony counts of malicious wounding, and three felony counts of aggravated malicious wounding.  The Commonwealth's attorney announced the new charges Thursday and  a grand jury heard them Monday;

Fields' trial has not been set.

Another local man charged in those demonstrations has been scheduled for trial next spring. 

The trial of Dan Borden, former Mason High student,  is scheduled April 26-27 in Charlottesville. Borden is charged with felonious assault for his role in the parking lot attack against DeAndre Harris.

Charlottesville Circuit Court records show a grand jury also met for Borden on Monday.

Fields' wrists and feet were shackled when he attended last Thursday's court hearing, CNN reported.  Fields' defense attorney, Denise Lunsford, tried to paint her client as a sympathetic character as she cross-examined a Charlottesville detective investigating the case. The detective, Steven Young, acknowledged that Fields said "I'm sorry" several times after he was apprehended.

Prosecutors showed two videos -- including one from a police helicopter -- that captured the moments before and after police said Fields drove into the crowd.

Fields was among hundreds of white supremacist and Neo-Nazi protesters who arrived in Charlottesville for a "Unite the Right" rally ostensibly meant to protest the removal of a statue honoring Confederate leader Robert E. Lee.

They marched through the college town's streets, bearing torches and weapons and shouting Nazi slogans such as "Blood and soil!"  Photographers captured Fields at the rally carrying a shield with the logo of white supremacist organization Vanguard America.

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