Man charged over white supremacist rally car death due in court

A man accused of ploughing his car into counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia is set to make his first court appearance.

Colonel Martin Kumer, superintendent at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, said 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr will face a bond hearing on Monday morning.

Fields is charged with second-degree murder and other counts after authorities say he drove his silver Dodge Challenger into the crowd in Charlottesville on Saturday, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring at least 19 other people.

James Alex Fields Jr.
James Alex Fields Jr.

Fields has been in custody since Saturday. Jail officials told the Associated Press they do not know if he has obtained a lawyer.

A high school teacher said Fields was fascinated with Nazism, idolised Adolf Hitler and had been singled out by school officials in the 9th grade for his "deeply held, radical" convictions on race.

Fields also confided that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was younger and had been prescribed an anti-psychotic medication, Derek Weimer said.

In high school, Fields was an "average" student, but had a keen interest in military history, Hitler, and Nazi Germany, said Mr Weimer, his social studies teacher at Randall K Cooper school in Union, Kentucky.

"Once you talked to James for a while, you would start to see that sympathy towards Nazism, that idolisation of Hitler, that belief in white supremacy," Mr Weimer said.

"It would start to creep out."

A Virginia State Police helicopter sent in a large-scale police response to the violence on Saturday then crashed into woods outside the town, killing both troopers on board.

Fields had been photographed hours earlier carrying the emblem of Vanguard America, one of the white supremacist hate groups that organised the "take America back" campaign sparked by the removal of a Confederate statue.

The group denied any association with Fields, even as a separate hate group that organised Saturday's rally pledged on social media to stage future events that would be "bigger than Charlottesville".

The mayor of Charlottesville, political leaders, activists and community organisers around the US planned rallies, vigils and education campaigns to combat the hate groups.

They also urged US President Donald Trump to forcefully denounce the organisations, some of which specifically cited Mr Trump's election after a campaign of racially charged rhetoric as validation of their beliefs.

Federal authorities are holding a civil rights investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash.

AP

More on this topic

Life sentence for white supremacist over fatal Charlottesville car attackLife sentence for white supremacist over fatal Charlottesville car attack

Jury recommends life plus 419 years for man who drove car into protestersJury recommends life plus 419 years for man who drove car into protesters

John David Washington: Charlottesville made me embarrassed for my countryJohn David Washington: Charlottesville made me embarrassed for my country

Thousands mark anniversary of deadly violence in CharlottesvilleThousands mark anniversary of deadly violence in Charlottesville

More in this Section

Iran diplomat warns of ‘all-out war’ if country hit for Saudi oil attackIran diplomat warns of ‘all-out war’ if country hit for Saudi oil attack

John Major criticises Johnson’s suspension of Parliament at Supreme CourtJohn Major criticises Johnson’s suspension of Parliament at Supreme Court

UK rejects ‘artificial’ deadline to submit proposals for BrexitUK rejects ‘artificial’ deadline to submit proposals for Brexit

Man in Johnson NHS row defends journalist for revealing Labour linkMan in Johnson NHS row defends journalist for revealing Labour link


Lifestyle

When starting out as a comedian, Cork man Andrew Ryan decided to go to straight to London, sidestepping the usual starting ground of Irish clubs and pubs.Cork comedian Andrew Ryan is 'a cross between Ardal O’Hanlon and Ed Byrne'

Paul McLauchlan has the lowdown from London Fashion Week. Here’s all you need to know about next season.London Fashion Week: How you’ll dress for the next decade

Aileen Lee sits down with artist Valerie Walsh Jolley.Portrait of an artist: Meet Valerie Walsh Jolley

Kya deLongchamps meets the man who is opening a new chapter on his native FermoyVintage View: Opening a new chapter on Fermoy's story

More From The Irish Examiner