Charlottesville attack: Homicide case against Ohioan heads to grand jury

The case against James Alex Fields Jr., the Ohioan and suspected driver in the deadly Charlottesville car-ramming, is headed to a Virginia grand jury.

Fields initially was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, of Charlottesville in the incident in August that left more than 30 people injured.

After a preliminary hearing in Charlottesville Circuit Court on Thursday, Judge Robert Downer Jr. granted a motion to certify the following in the case against Fields and three others:

  • One felony count of first-degree murder,
  • One felony count of hit and run,
  • Five felony counts of aggravated malicious wounding

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The judge also granted the commonwealth attorney's request to certify felony counts against three other defendants. The charges are discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school and malicious wounding.

Fields's case -- and the cases of three other defendants in the Charlottesville riot incident -- will be presented to a Charlottesville Circuit Court grand jury on Dec. 18.

The Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney for the city did not comment on Downer's rulings.