Joe Heim Journalist covering a variety of topics, including race, white nationalism, schools, student culture, Native American issues, Dec. 7 at 7 am. CHARLOTTESVILLE – There is no doubt that James A. Fields Jr. drove his two-door car into a crowd of people in the city's downtown area 15 months ago. And there is no doubt that one person was killed and three dozen others were injured in this bloody collision. A jury of seven women and five men, scheduled to begin its proceedings on Friday morning, will decide whether Fields, 21, is guilty of first degree murder or other crimes. Prosecutors argue that the self-proclaimed neo-Nazi acted maliciously and angrily when he went to that city to attend the "Unite the Right" rally in August 2017 and crashed into a crowd of counter-promoters. The defense states that he felt threatened and was trying to defend himself. The violent accident killed Heather Heyer, 32, and haunted this quiet college town. His death on August 12, 2017 – and the bloody violence that preceded it – has always linked Charlottesville to the emergence of white supremacists emerging from the shadows during the first months of Donald Trump's presidency. On that day, the rally participants clashed violently with counter-partners who opposed their presence in that city. [A day of rage, hate and violence and death in Charlottesville] Prosecutors have depicted Fields, who appeared in court Thursday in a dark blue sweater, as a rabid man who adopted the racist ideology of Adolf Hitler. Shortly before 2:00 pm That day, he saw counter-partners, some of whom wearing the Black Lives Matter badge, parading on 4th Street in the downtown pedestrian street of this city – and found an opportunity to act according to his fury, said Thursday Nina-Alice Antony, Principal Attorney of the Commonwealth,.
James A. Fields Jr. (Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail / AP) While counterpart partners were celebrating, kissing and singing, someone was off, "idling, watching" and " this person was hurting them, "Antony told the jury. Antony stated that there was no evidence to prove that Fields had been threatened before it crashed into the crowd. In closing argument, defense lawyer Denise Lunsford asked the jurors to take into account the behavior of Fields before and after the accident. Rallies who met him earlier this afternoon testified that he seemed calm and normal. And after the accident, while he was being arrested, Fields apologized, according to footage of a camera on the body released in court this week . "He was not angry," Lunsford said. "He was scared." In addition to a charge of first degree murder, Fields faces five counts of serious and malicious injuries and three counts of malicious injuries involving eight of the 35 wounded, and a non-arrest leader at the scene of a fatal accident. In the absence of a conviction for first degree murder, which requires an intent to kill, a jury could find Mr. Fields guilty of second degree murder, punishable by a sentence that could go up to 40 years in prison. The lawsuit began last week at the Charlottesville Circuit Court, just steps from where Heyer was killed on a street now called Heather Heyer Way. A fortune memorial consisting of flowers and posters bearing his name is still on the narrow one-way road. .