Fields Trial Day 8: Defense Attorneys Continue to Call Witnesses
Attorneys for James A. Fields, Jr. are expected to rest their case Thursday, Dec. 6. The defense called six people to the witness stand Wednesday, Dec. 5.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Attorneys for James Alex Fields, Junior are expected to rest their case Thursday, December 6.
The defense called six people to the witness stand Wednesday, December 5. Attorneys for the 21-year-old Ohio man are expected to call two more people to testify inside Charlottesville Circuit Court Thursday morning.
Fields is accused of killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of counterprotesters in a car attack on Fourth Street August 12, 2017. He is charged with first-degree murder, five counts of aggravated malicious wounding, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count of failing to stop at an accident involving a death.
Fields participated in the Unite the Right rally, and believes he was acting in self-defense when he drove into people who were against the white-nationalist event. The court previously heard a portion of a jailhouse phone call where Fields described the crowd on Fourth Street as terrorists.
Jurors saw photos taken by Edmund Davidson, who also took the witness stand Wednesday. His photos included pictures of armed police throughout the area of the rally and on rooftops. Fields could be seen in some of Davidson’s pictures. There were also pictures of protesters bleeding and being treated for pepper spray.
Davidson told the court he thought counterprotesters might kill him after he saw one holding a sign saying "This Machine Kills Fascists."
Authorities declared an unlawful assembly in the area of then-Emancipation Park before noon that day, at which point Davidson moved to the Downtown Mall.
Philip DePue, a digital forensic expert, examined data on Fields’ phone. His testimony went over two routes Google Maps suggested to Fields around 1:39 p.m. in order for him to get back to Ohio.
During cross examination, DePue stated that none of the suggested routes directed Fields to drive down Fourth Street toward Water Street.
Virginia State Police Trooper Clifford Thomas, a crash reconstructionist, calculated that Fields’ Dodge Challenger was going 28 miles-per-hour before impacting the crowd on Fourth Street.
Thomas said the Challenger was going 23 miles-per-hour when it then struck a parked Toyota Camry on the side of the street. The impact caused the pickup truck to travel at a speed of 17.1 miles-per-hour in 160 milliseconds.
Also called to testify were Hayden Calhoun and Sara Bolstad, a couple who attended the Unite the Right rally together. Calhoun recounted how they met Fields and a fourth person - later identified as Joshua Matthews during Bolstad's testimony. The four of them stuck together, and Calhoun said Fields later invited the couple to go get lunch.
Both witnesses described Fields as calm, and Bolstad said she did not feel uneasy around him. She said they later decided to go home instead of staying in Charlottesville because Calhoun's mother called and was "freaking out."
Calhoun said he contacted the FBI several days later, after learning that Fields was involved in the incident on Fourth Street.
Charlottesville Police Detective Steven Young was also called back to the witness stand. Young went over much of the same evidence brought forth by the commonwealth Tuesday regarding data pulled from Fields' phone.
Court was initially delayed for about two hours Wednesday. Judge Richard Moore announced that something was said in the presence of a juror Tuesday that needed to be followed-up on. The judge said it did not affect the trial.
Judge Moore said at the end of the Wednesday’s proceedings that he hopes to move into closing arguments after the courts’ lunch break Thursday.