The 20-year-old man accused of ramming his car through a crowd protesting a white nationalist rally during the weekend was denied bond Monday.
James Alex Fields Jr., from Ohio, allegedly smashed his car into a group of counter-protesters and other cars on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va. The incident killed one woman and left 19 others injured. Two police who were monitoring the protests were also killed when their helicopter crashed.
Fields was denied bond Monday after the public defender’s office said it could not represent him, and the judge was forced to find a local attorney to take the case. He did not enter a plea.
Here’s what we know about Fields and his case.
He’s charged with second-degree murder
Fields is charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wrongdoing and one count of failing to stop at an accident that resulted in a death.
Heather Heyer, 32, was among the hundreds of protesters who had gathered in Charlottesville to decry what was believed to be the largest gathering of white supremacists in a decade – including neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members – who descended on the city to rally against plans to remove a Confederate statue.
Police said she was killed when Fields drove into the crowd Saturday afternoon.
Heyer’s mother said, “Heather died doing what she loved – standing up for people.”
A judge denied bail
Fields was not present in the courtroom Monday and appeared via video monitor dressed in a black-and-white striped uniform. He answered questions from the judge with simple responses of, “yes, sir,” when asked if he understood what was being explained to him.
Judge Robert Downer said the public defenders’ office informed him it could not represent Fields because a relative of someone in the office was injured in Saturday’s protest. Local attorney Charles Weber was appointed to represent Fields.
Downer set a hearing date for Aug. 25.
His teachers knew about his “radical” views on race
Fields’ teachers said he was an “average” student in high school who had an interest in Nazi Germany, Hitler and military history.
“Once you talked to James for a while, you would start to see that sympathy toward Nazism, that idolization of Hitler, that belief in white supremacy,” Derek Weimer, Fields’ high school social studies teacher, told the Associated Press.
Weimer also said Fields had told him that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was younger.
His work history was uneven
Fields flunked out of basic training two years ago, the U.S. Army told Fox News.
Security firm Securitas Security Services said in a statement that Fields was employed with the company from May 2016 until July 2016, and again from Nov. 2016 until now as a security officer. Securitas said Fields performed his duties "satisfactorily" and was on vacation leave when he attended the rally in Charlottesville. The company said Fields has since been terminated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.