Jurors can see Hitler text driver sent before deadly Charlottesville rally

Virginia News

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP/WRIC) — A judge is allowing jurors to see a text message including an image of Adolf Hitler that was sent by the man who drove into a crowd of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia.

Judge Richard Moore ruled Tuesday that prosecutors can show the text James Alex Fields Jr. sent his mother days before the 2017 rally. It was a response to his mother’s plea to be careful. Fields wrote “we’re not the one (sic) who need to be careful,” accompanied by Hitler’s image.

Fields’ attorneys argued that the image would prejudice the jury. But the judge said it shows intent or motive of violence.

A Charlottesville detective took the stand Tuesday morning as prosecutors presented their case. They played body cam video of Fields’ arrest, during which he asks the officer about the counter-protesters in the crowd. He also repeatedly said, ‘I’m sorry.’

In that same recording, Fields could also be heard saying, “I didn’t want to hurt people, but I thought they were attacking me. Even if they were attacking, they’re still people. I feel bad for them.”

Prosecutors on Tuesday also played video of Fields talking to the magistrate as police were finalizing his arrest warrant. 

“I felt like people were coming at me,” Fields said of the violent tragedy.

He added that because of his broken rear windshield, he couldn’t initially see police officers behind him who were trying to pull him over.

Prosecutors also played two phone calls Fields made to his mother from jail. In one of them, Fields referred to Heather Heyer’s mom as a “communist. She’s the enemy.” In another recording, he described the counter-protesters as terrorists who mobbed him for defending himself. 

Following Kristin Smith on Twitter for complete coverage of this trial, and watch her full report on 8News at 5 & 6. 

Information from Associated Press was used in this report

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