The Latest: Testimony ends in white nationalist trial
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 (all times local):
Testimony has ended in the trial of a man accused of deliberately driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia.
James Alex Fields Jr. is charged with first-degree murder and other counts for killing one counterprotester and injuring dozens more in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017.
A final defense witness testified Thursday that Fields appeared calm and “maybe a little bit scared” after police declared an “unlawful assembly” and forced the crowds to disperse after violent clashes between white nationalists and counterprotesters.
Fields’ lawyers claim he was afraid for his life when he later drove into a crowd of counterprotesters. Prosecutors say he was angry.
Prosecutors called a Charlottesville police detective as a rebuttal witness in an attempt to cast doubt on the testimony of a member of a left-wing defense group who said he scared away a man driving a “gray muscle car” repeatedly circling a park where counterprotesters had gathered. The witness said he saw the car about 30 minutes to an hour before Fields slammed his gray Dodge Challenger into counterprotesters.
The detective, however, said geolocation data from Fields’ phone indicates his car was in the vicinity of the park only once, about four minutes before Fields struck counterprotesters in a different location.
Trial proceedings have been delayed for a man accused of killing a woman and injuring dozens more when he drove his car into counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally as the court waits for the final defense witness to arrive.
James Alex Fields Jr. is accused of deliberately slamming his car into a large crowd of counterprotesters at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017.
Judge Richard Moore said he issued a warrant to bring the witness to court after he failed to show up Thursday morning. The judge later told jurors that the witness was on his way and would be called to testify early Thursday afternoon.
Moore said prosecutors may have one rebuttal witness before testimony concludes.
The judge has said he expects prosecutors and Fields’ lawyers to give closing arguments to the jury Thursday afternoon.
Jurors have heard testimony from a member of a left-wing defense group who claims he scared away a white nationalist who later drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters.
Dwayne Dixon was called Thursday by defense lawyers for James Alex Fields Jr. Fields is charged with first-degree murder and other counts for driving his gray Dodge Challenger into counterprotesters during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017.
One woman was killed and dozens more were injured.
Dixon is a teaching assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He said he’s also a member of Redneck Revolt and was armed with an AR-15 and providing security for counterprotesters.
Dixon said he saw a gray “muscle car” drive by several times. He said he yelled “Get the (expletive) out of here” at the car while wearing his gun slung over his shoulder. He testified that he could not see the driver because the car had tinted windows.
Dixon said he believes that was about 30 minutes to an hour before Fields slammed into the group with his car.
Dixon has claimed previously that he used his gun to scare off a man he believes was Fields. During his testimony, he said he could not see the driver because the car had tinted windows.
Jurors in the trial of a man accused of killing a 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 and other counts for driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017.
Closing arguments are expected Thursday afternoon after the defense calls its last witnesses.
Fields’ lawyers don’t dispute that he plowed his car into the counterprotesters, but say he feared for his life after witnessing violent clashes between the two sides earlier that day.
Prosecutors say Fields drove from his home in Maumee, Ohio, to support the white nationalists. They say he was angry and intentionally struck the counterprotesters.