Update: Jury Rejects Man's Appeal, Finds Him Guilty of Assault and Battery
A Charlottesville jury is agreeing with a judge's previous ruling, finding a man who punched the organizer of the Unite the Right rally last year guilty of assault and battery.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A Charlottesville jury is agreeing with a judge's previous ruling, finding a man who punched the organizer of the Unite the Right rally last year guilty of assault and battery.
Fifty-year-old Jeffrey Matthew Winder was found guilty in Charlottesville General District Court of misdemeanor assault and battery back on February 16, 2018. He was given a 30-day sentence, which was suspended.
Winder appealed the judge's decision. A jury in Charlottesville Circuit Court heard Winder's case Tuesday, September 4.
Jurors came back with their guilty verdict a little before 3 p.m. Tuesday. They are recommending he pay a fine of $1, and not serve any jail time.
The case stems from when Jason Eric Kessler called a press conference outside of Charlottesville City Hall on August 13, 2017, one day after his controversial rally at then-Emancipation Park. Kessler began to speak, but was drowned out by the crowd chanting "say her name" - in reference to Heather Heyer - and yelling at him.
Members of the crowd advanced forward, causing Kessler to run back. At some point, Winder punched Kessler in the back of the head.
Winder later told NBC29, He [Kessler] had an incredible amount of nerve coming in front of the people of Charlottesville after the pain, suffering, and terror that he brought on the community. He should never be allowed to show his face in town again."
James Abrenio, Winder's lawyer, argued Kessler brought the violence on himself by holding a press conference the day after Heyer was killed and so many injured following the downtown rally.
"The circumstance of this case is obviously not something that I don't think has ever been seen before: We have a guy [Kessler] who is going out of his way to take, make profit off tragedy, and that's really what this is about," said Abrenio outside of court.
NBC29 asked for comment from the commonwealth and Winder, but both said they believe the jury's verdict and sentence speaks for the case.
Winder and his lawyer have yet to decide if they will appeal this conviction, as well. If they were to do so, that would go to the Court of Appeals of Virginia.