CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia — White supremacist James Alex Fields was charged with five felony counts, including murder, during his arraignment on Monday.
Fields appeared by video before a judge two days after prosecutors allege he killed one woman and injured 19 others by driving his car into protesters. He appeared on a large screen in the corner of the courtroom, his face was unshaven and his hair swooped across his forehead like his idol, Adolf Hitler. He wore a black and white striped prison uniform, looked downward, and sniffed occasionally.
“You are charged with a number of felonies,” Judge Robert Downer began, listing them as one count of murder in the second degree, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count of hit-and-run.
Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when Fields’ Dodge Challenger struck her head-on.
Judge Downer denied him bail.
“You have no ties to this community at this time,” Judge Downer said.
Fields, a 20-year-old resident of Ohio, indicated that he was unable to hire a lawyer. He told Judge Downer his income was approximately $650 every two weeks from his job at a security-guard company. Judge Downer assigned local attorney Charles Weber to represent Fields after ruling out the public defender’s office because, he said, a relative of someone working there was involved in the protests. Weber was not present in the court at the time and had not yet been informed of his appointment.
Outside the courtroom, Matthew Heimbach of the far-right Traditionalist Worker Party began to make a speech, insisting that the alt-right came to Charlottesville for a peaceful, lawful assembly. Protesters quickly drowned out his words with their own chants of “Nazis go home!”
Sheriff’s deputies and police officers from the adjacent police station quickly moved in. Heimbach and another man walked several blocks, surrounded by a growing mass of protesters and reporters, before being escorted into City Hall by the police. Protesters and reporters were not permitted to follow.