Man Charged in White Nationalist Rally Killing to Argue Self-Defense

James Alex Fields Jr. is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville

Virginia Police

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.

A lawyer for James Alex Fields Jr. offered a glimpse of the defense strategy as jury selection began Monday in Charlottesville Circuit Court.

Attorney John Hill told a group of prospective jurors the jury will hear evidence that Fields "thought he was acting in self-defense." 

Hill asked if any of the prospective jurors believe that using violence in self-defense is never appropriate. 

The "Unite the Right" rally on Aug. 12, 2017, was organized in part to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The event drew hundreds of white nationalists to Charlottesville. 

Fields, of Maumee, Ohio, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer. He is accused of driving his car into a crowd of people protesting the white nationalists. Heyer was killed and dozens of others were injured.

The 21-year-old Fields was described by a former teacher as an admirer of Adolf Hitler.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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