Update: Judge Declines to Move Fields' Trial Out of Charlottesville Court
A judge is declining to move James Alex Fields Junior's murder trial out of Charlottesville. For now, the court will try to seat a jury of city residents.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Trial for the Ohio man accused of a deadly car attack in downtown Charlottesville will stay in the city, for now.
Attorneys for James Alex Fields Junior claim there is no chance a jury of people who live in Charlottesville would be impartial. Denise Lunsford, Fields’ lawyer, argued that the people who live in the city have been emotionally affected by the events of August 12 2017.
Fields is facing one count of first-degree murder, as well as multiple charges of malicious wounding. He is accused of driving into a crowd of people in the area of 4th Street along the Downtown Mall last year, which resulted in the death of Heather Heyer and dozens being injured.
Lunsford has compiled thousands of pages of media articles about Fields, and says there has been widespread publicity in the case. She also cited the city’s own #ResilienceCville website during a pretrial motions hearing involving the defense’s request for a change of venue in Charlottesville Circuit Court Thursday, August 30.
Judge Richard Moore decided Thursday to keep Fields’ trial in Charlottesville, for now. The judge is taking the motion under advisement.
“What happens with virtually every change of venue motion ever filed is the judge says, ‘very interesting, I will take it under advisement and we’ll see whether we have any difficulty picking a jury,’” legal analyst Lloyd Snook explained.
Lunsford is also suggesting jurors from another district be used for the Fields’ trial instead of folks from Charlottesville.
Fields’ three-week trial is currently scheduled to get started on November 26, and could have one of the largest jury pools in Charlottesville’s history: A total of 360 potential jurors may be called in by the court.
Fields also faces dozens of federal charges for the same incident.