James Alex Fields, Jr., the 20-year-old Ohio man who allegedly killed one and injured 19 by plowing his car into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville Saturday, was denied bail when seen by a judge earlier today. BBC reports that Fields has been charged with one count each of second-degree murder and leaving the scene of an accident which resulted in death, as well as three counts of malicious wounding.
Fields did not enter a plea, and told Judge Robert H. Downer Jr. he could not afford a lawyer. He was assigned Charlottesville lawyer Charles Weber as an attorney. Fields will next appear in court on August 25, at which time his court-appointed attorney could presumably request bail–though it remains to be seen whether he will do so.
Outside the hearing, reporters were harangued by white nationalist Matthew Heimbach, who according to the Southern Poverty Law Center has connections with hate groups including the American Freedom Party, the League Of The South, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the Council of Conservative Citizens. Heimbach attempted to spin the incident, in which Fields crashed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, as a scared man fleeing for his life. Heimbach claimed that “the nationalist community defended ourselves against thugs” and “these radical leftists…they are the one who came to kill us,” according to an NBC News report from the scene. Heimbach was eventually shouted down by counter-protesters chanting “Nazis go home.”
Meanwhile, on twitter, Oren Segal, director of the Center on Extremism for the Anti-Defamation League, tweeted a picture taken before the vehicular attack, in which Fields was shown standing with members of the West Coast-based neo-Nazi hate group Vanguard America.
— Oren Segal (@orensegal) August 13, 2017
Vanguard America denies any connection to Fields, and claimed that his appearance wearing one of their shirts in no way implies allegiance, as “the shirts were freely handed out to anyone in attendance,” according to a statement posted on the organization’s Twitter account [image link via New York Times–we will not be linking directly to hate groups in this article].
The woman killed in Fields’ alleged vehicular attack was Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer, 32, a legal assistant and civil rights activist. A gofundme account set up to raise money for her family by a family friend, Felicia Correa, raised over $225,000 before the campaign was ended a mere day after it was begun. Speaking in place of family members not yet ready to give a public statement, Correa said, “She died doing what was right. My heart is broken, but I am forever proud of her.”
A variety of protesters and press people on the scene ended up filming the vehicular attack, some of which we are reposting below. Viewer discretion is highly advised, as this is an incredibly difficult thing to watch.