CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (AP) — The Ohio man accused of ramming a car into a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally this summer in Charlottesville has had his most serious charge upgraded to first-degree murder.
Twenty-year-old James Alex Fields appeared in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing. Prosecutors said they filed a motion earlier in the day to amend the second-degree murder charge he previously faced.
The judge certified the murder charge and all others against Fields. His case will now be presented to a grand jury for an indictment.
The judge also certified charges against three other defendants in cases related to the August rally.
Fields’ attorney did not present evidence or make any arguments at the hearing, although she did cross-examine a prosecution witness. Fields sat quietly in a striped jumpsuit with his hands cuffed.
Authorities say Fields barreled into the crowd Aug. 12 after attendees of a white nationalist rally had been forced to disband.