The decision comes after a preliminary court hearing in which a video of the individual, James Alex Fields Jr., was presented, displaying the suspect driving his auto into the crowd of protesters during a white nationalist rally, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
Photo The emergency response after the attack, which killed Heather Heyer and injured 35 others.
Supporters of four men facing charges stemming from events around the August 12 white supremacist rally were shouted down by angry protesters as they entered the Charlottesville Circuit Court on Thursday afternoon.
The judge certified the murder charge and all others against Fields.
Each of these cases will be presented to a regular grand jury of the Charlottesville Circuit Court on Monday, December 18, 2017 at 9:30 a.m.
Authorities say the 20-year-old, described by a former teacher as having a keen interest in Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler, drove his speeding auto into a group of counterprotesters the day of the "Unite the Right" rally that drew hundreds of white nationalist from around the country. That testimony was apparently meant to undercut any argument that Mr. Fields had been under attack.
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Fields' attorney, Denise Lunsford, tried to paint her client as a sympathetic character as she cross-examined Young. Fields sat quietly in a striped jumpsuit with his hands cuffed. By then, Fields was already on the ground in handcuffs, Young said.
The detective said that while there were holes in the Challenger's back window, made by outraged people after the impact, there was no evidence of anything hitting the vehicle before it struck the crowd. White supremacists: "bad people", she says.
The parents of Heather Heyer, 32, as well as victims of the attack, attended the preliminary hearing.
Fields, who initially was charged with second-degree murder and other offenses, now faces a charge of first-degree murder. First-degree murder carries a penalty of 20 years to life in prison.
Jason Kessler, the main organizer of the Unite the Right rally, was in court to watch the proceedings.
After hearing evidence in Commonwealth v. Alex Ramos and Commonwealth v. Jacob Goodwin, Judge Downer granted the Commonwealth's motions to certify one felony count of malicious wounding against each defendant.