Charlottesville Driver Charged with 2nd Degree Murder

The man accused of fatally driving his car through a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville in August appeared in court on Thursday.

Barricades were set up around the Charlottesville Circuit Court and police kept traffic away, as four men accused of violent acts during the August 12th protests were in court for preliminary hearings.

Among them was 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr, who is facing second-degree murder and nine other charges. Police say Fields drove his car into a crowd downtown and killing one person and injuring 19 others.

Fields was arrested about a half-mile up the road, still driving the Dodge Challenger involved in the deadly incident. He says he feared for his life in the crowed and hit the gas pedal in panic.

He was seen protesting with a known racist and white nationalist group, and is described as having interest in Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler.

Thursday’s hearing was to establish if prosecutors had enough evidence to seek an indictment. If convicted, Fields could face up to 40 years in prison.