Charlottesville white nationalist trial continues

by Associated Press and Rockbridge Report Staff

Jurors in the trial of a man accused of killing one Charlottesville woman and injuring dozens at a white nationalist rally are expected to hear closing arguments in the case after testimony from final defense witnesses.

James Alex Fields Jr. is charged with first-degree murder for the death of Heather Heyer and other counts for driving his car into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017.

Closing arguments were expected Thursday afternoon after the defense calls its last witnesses. Deliberation began Friday morning.

Prosecutors have told the jury he deliberately plowed into the crowd because he supported the white nationalists and was angry about violent clashes between the two sides earlier in the day.

After the violence, police declared the event an “unlawful assembly’ and forced the crowd to disband before white nationalists could deliver a series of planned speeches.

The rally was organized in part to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Prosecutors say Fields drove from his home in Maumee, Ohio, to support the white nationalists. They say he was angry and intentionally struck the counter-protesters.

Also in Charlottesville, federal judges have refused to set bond for two California men charged with inciting a riot and attacking counter-protesters at the same white nationalist rally.

The Daily Progress reports that Michael Miselis and Benjamin Daley remained held without bond following separate court hearings Monday.

Authorities say Miselis and Daley were members of the Rise Above Movement, a white supremacist group. Miselis, Daley and two other men were arrested in October on charges stemming from violence that erupted at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in August 2017.

Prosecutors say Miselis and Daley both traveled to Europe after the rally to meet with neo-Nazi and fascist groups and attended a festival in Germany celebrating Adolf Hitler’s birthday.

Their trial is scheduled to begin in January.