A district court judge granted prosecutors’s request to upgrade James Alex Fields’s charge from second-degree to first-degree murder after he allegedly killed a woman during racially-charged demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, this summer.
Authorities said that Fields, a 20-year-old with alleged interest in Nazi Germany, drove his 2010 Dodge Challenger through a crowd of protesters, leaving 19 people injured and one dead.
In court, prosecutors played footage of Fields’s car ramming into protesters and reversing, according to USA Today on Friday, A grand jury will hear Fields’s case, which the judge said had enough probable cause to proceed.
Fields also faces eight counts of “aggravated malicious wounding.” According to Virginia law, that term indicates that Fields allegedly inflicted “permanent and significant physical impairment.”
Fields allegedly killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer, whose death became a rallying point for those concerned about political violence. President Donald Trump lamented her death in August, saying it “fills us with grief, and we send her family our thoughts, our prayers, and our love.”