sunny.png
Thursday August 22nd, 2019 12:04PM

Witness: Man accused in deadly car attack appeared calm

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A witness told jurors Thursday that James Alex Fields Jr. appeared calm and "maybe a little bit scared" before he plowed his car into a group of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally, a crash that killed one woman and injured many other people.

Joshua Matthews was with Fields shortly before the deadly encounter, which came after police forced an end to the event following violent clashes between the two sides. Matthews was the final witness called by defense lawyers as they attempted to convince the jury that Fields was afraid for his life when he drove his Dodge Challenger into the counterprotesters on Aug. 12, 2017.

Fields is charged with first-degree murder and other counts.

Both prosecutors and defense attorneys wrapped up their cases Thursday. Closing arguments were expected late that afternoon. Fields did not testify in his own defense.

The confrontations came after hundreds of white nationalists gathered for a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Prosecutors say Fields was angry when he aimed his car directly at the counterprotesters and sped into the crowd. Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal and civil rights activist, was killed and dozens of other counterprotesters were injured.

Matthews said he met Fields in a Charlottesville park where white nationalists had gathered. After police declared an "unlawful assembly," Fields, Matthews and two other people decided to walk together "as it would probably be more safe," Matthews said.

He said while they were walking, a group of "antifas" — short for anti-fascists — yelled at them. He said Fields yelled something back, although he said he couldn't remember what Fields said.

The defense also called to the stand a left-wing defense group member who claimed in an earlier social media post that he had scared Fields away from a park where counterprotesters had gathered about an hour before Fields plowed his car into the crowd.

Dwayne Dixon testified that he saw a gray "muscle car" drive by several times. He said he yelled "Get the (expletive) out of here" at the car while wearing his gun slung over his shoulder. He testified that he could not see the driver because the car had tinted windows. Dixon has claimed previously that he used his gun to scare off a man he believes was Fields.

Dixon said he believes that was about 30 minutes to an hour before Fields slammed into the group with his car.

Prosecutors called a Charlottesville police detective as a rebuttal witness in an attempt to cast doubt on Dixon's account.

The detective said geolocation data from Fields' phone indicates his car was in the vicinity of the park only once, about four minutes before Fields struck counterprotesters in a different location.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Auto Racing, AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Witness: Man accused in deadly car attack appeared calm
A witness says a man appeared calm and "maybe a little bit scared" before he plowed his car into a group of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally last year
3:52PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Appeals to Scott Walker: Don't stain legacy, veto bills
Bipartisan group to Walker: Don't stain your legacy or behave like a sore loser
3:43PM ( 17 minutes ago )
North Carolina race shines light on 'ballot harvesting'
An investigation into whether political operatives in North Carolina illegally collected and possibly stole absentee ballots in a still-undecided congressional race has drawn attention to a political tool called ballot harvesting
3:39PM ( 21 minutes ago )
U.S. News
France fears more riots; Museums, Eiffel Tower to close
Authorities across France are bracing for the possibility of more riots and violence at anti-government protests this weekend, holding emergency meetings and deploying tens of thousands of police and security forces
3:48PM ( 12 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump greets tech execs at White House
Top executives from Google, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Qualcomm are planning to meet at the White House amid strained ties between President Donald Trump's administration and the tech industry
3:45PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Testimony ends in trial of man accused in deadly car attack
The prosecution and defense wrapped up their cases in the trial of a man accused in a deadly car attack on counterprotesters who were opposing a white nationalist rally in Virginia
3:39PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Foster's ex-girlfriend details abuse allegations on GMA
Reuben Foster's ex-girlfriend tells ABC's "Good Morning America" that he slapped her and pushed her during an incident in Tampa, Florida, that led to his arrest for domestic violence
2:26PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Funeral train takes Bush on final journey
A special funeral train carrying the casket of President George H.W. Bush has begun its journey to College Station, where he will be buried during a private service in the family plot on the grounds of his presidential library
2:04PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Bush motorcade arrives for funeral train trip
The hearse carrying the body of President George H.W. Bush has arrived at a Union Pacific facility north of Houston, where his casket will be placed on a special train that will take him to the city where he'll be laid to rest
1:40PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Key trial issue: Why did driver plow into counterprotesters?
No one disputes James Alex Fields Jr. plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia last year, killing a woman and injuring dozens more
7:05PM ( 6 days ago )
Man charged in white nationalist rally to argue self-defense
An Ohio man charged with killing a woman during a white nationalist rally in Virginia plans to argue that he believed he was acting in self-defense when he drove his car into a crowd of counter protesters
5:49PM ( 1 week ago )
World champion Hamilton wins season-ending Abu Dhabi GP
World champion Lewis Hamilton coasted to victory from pole position at the year-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday, and in doing so equaled his personal best for a season with his 11th win of the campaign
11:46AM ( 1 week ago )
AP Online Auto Racing
Appeals to Scott Walker: Don't stain legacy, veto bills
Bipartisan group to Walker: Don't stain your legacy or behave like a sore loser
3:43PM ( 17 minutes ago )
North Carolina race shines light on 'ballot harvesting'
An investigation into whether political operatives in North Carolina illegally collected and possibly stole absentee ballots in a still-undecided congressional race has drawn attention to a political tool called ballot harvesting
3:39PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Bushes depart on first presidential funeral train since 1969
George H.W. Bush's presidential funeral train will be first in nearly 50 years
3:34PM ( 27 minutes ago )
The Latest: Bush funeral train-squashed coins a hot keepsake
People who turned out to pay tribute to former President George H.W. Bush as a special funeral train carries his body to the city where he'll be buried are leaving coins on the tracks to be flattened into keepsakes
3:31PM ( 30 minutes ago )
The Latest: 'Desert Storm' vet among those honoring Bush
A 54-year-old Texan who served in the U.S. Air Force during "Operation Desert Storm" is among the many people who turned out to watch the special funeral train carry former President George H.W. Bush to his final resting place
3:07PM ( 53 minutes ago )