CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — An Ohio man charged with killing a girl throughout a white nationalist rally in Virginia plans to argue that he believed he was performing in self- defence when he drove his automobile right into a crowd of counter protesters.
A lawyer for James Alex Fields Jr. provided a glimpse of the defence technique as jury choice started Monday in Charlottesville, fifteen months after this quiet Virginia metropolis grew to become a flash level for race relations within the U.S.
The “Unite the Proper” rally on Aug. 12, 2017 rally drew tons of of white nationalists to Charlottesville, the place officers deliberate to take away a statue of Accomplice Gen. Robert E. Lee. Tons of extra confirmed as much as protest towards the white nationalists.
The 2 sides started brawling earlier than the rally obtained underway, throwing punches, setting off smoke bombs and unleashing chemical sprays. Later, 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed when a automobile authorities say was pushed by Fields plowed right into a crowd of counterprotesters.
Afterward, President Donald Trump enflamed racial tensions when he stated “either side” had been responsible, a remark some noticed as a refusal to sentence racism.
Fields’ legal professional John Hill informed a bunch of potential jurors Monday the jury will hear proof that Fields “thought he was performing in self- defence .”
Hill requested if any of the potential jurors consider utilizing violence in self- defence is rarely acceptable.
Practically the entire 68 potential jurors within the first group to be questioned stated that they had learn or heard concerning the case.
About 20 folks stated that they had shaped an opinion within the case. When requested if their opinion was so sturdy they may not put it apart and determine the case based mostly solely on the proof, no arms had been raised.
Fields was photographed hours earlier than the assault with a protect bearing the logo of Vanguard America, one of many hate teams that participated within the rally, though the group denied any affiliation with him.
Pretrial hearings have provided few insights into Fields or his motivation. A Charlottesville police detective testified that as he was being detained after the automobile crash, Fields stated he was sorry and sobbed when he was informed a girl had been killed. Fields later informed a decide he’s being handled for bipolar dysfunction, nervousness, melancholy and ADHD.
Star Peterson, whose proper leg was just about crushed by the automobile, has had 5 surgical procedures and nonetheless makes use of a wheelchair and cane. She sat quietly within the courtroom room Monday watching the proceedings.
Denise Lavoie, The Related Press