Tag Archive: Mark Shuster Olmsted County


 

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A Colorado man has been charged with murder and solicitation to commit murder in the death of his missing fiancée, Kelsey Berreth.  Patrick Frazee, 32, had a brief court appearance where he learned of the five charges against him.  Frazee is accused of working to find someone to kill Kelsey Berreth between September and November and causing her death on or around Thanksgiving.  They share a daughter together who is now in the custody of her maternal grandparents and child protective services.

The investigation into 29-year-old Kelsey Berreth’s whereabouts has drawn national attention.  Berreth disappeared on Thanksgiving Day and a police investigation was opened Dec. 2 after her mother Cheryl Berreth asked for a welfare check of her daughter.  On the morning of Nov. 22, Berreth was captured on surveillance video entering a Safeway grocery store at 12:05 p.m. with her 1-year-old daughter in a baby carrier. Frazee told authorities he picked up the couple’s daughter, Kaylee, from Berreth that afternoon-making him the last person to see her.

Investigators who went to the woman’s home found some cinnamon rolls in Berreth’s kitchen and both of her cars still in place outside the home. Doss Aviation, the company Berreth works for as a flight instructor, has accounted for all their planes and police have no reason to believe she used someone else’s plane for a flight.

Frazee has told police the couple, who are engaged but have never lived together, met to exchange custody of their daughter.  After that, police said the only signs of Berreth were text messages from her cellphone.  Frazee told police she last texted him Nov. 25, the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  Her employer, an aviation company, received a text message from Berreth’s phone the same day, saying the flight instructor planned to take the following week off.

Police later received data indicating Berreth’s phone was near Gooding, Idaho, nearly 800 miles from her home in Woodland Park. Before his arrest, Frazee had yet to speak directly with police about being the last person to see her, only communicating through his lawyer.  Law enforcement officers from several local, state and federal agencies are conducting an exhaustive search of Frazee’s 1 ½ story home and 35 acre cattle ranch in the Crystal Peaks Ranches subdivision near Florissant for possible evidence that could explain Berreth’s disappearance.

 

 

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Las Vegas police have identified the woman accused of killing a nail salon owner after failing to pay for a $35 manicure.  Police say they are looking for 21-year-old Krystal Whipple in the death of 53-year-old “Annie” Nhu Nguyen.  Police say Whipple stopped by the salon, Crystal Nails & Spa to get a manicure around 3:45 p.m. on Dec 29th.  She allegedly attempted to pay with a fraudulent credit card. When the credit card payment was declined, she allegedly said she would get cash from her black 2017 Chevrolet Camaro, but instead started to drive away.

When Nguyen noticed her pulling out of the parking lot, she rushed outside with husband Sonny Chung to try to stop her.  Nguyen ran in front of the vehicle and Whipple accelerated and hit Nguyen.  Nguyen was thrown under the car and dragged 50 feet as Whipple drove off.  Nguyen died of multiple blunt force injuries and her death was ruled a homicide by the Clark County coroner’s office.  Chung, who witnessed his wife’s horrific death, said he tried his best to stop Whipple from getting away by holding onto the back of the car.  Police said the car, a rental that had been stolen last month, was found abandoned at a nearby apartment complex.

Nguyen left behind three daughters aged 20, 25 and 28 and two grandchildren aged four and six.  She was a Vietnamese refugee who came to America and raised her three daughters as a single mother. She traveled the country before landing in Las Vegas two years ago, family members said. She and her husband Sonny loved their business. They were open 12 hours per day, seven days per week.

Las Vegas police released storefront security video footage of the incident along with a plea for information on the whereabouts of the suspect, Krystal Whipple.  Officer Larry Hadfield said “We are asking the public’s help if they have knowledge of where this person is to contact the homicide section.  Investigators have worked around the clock with no time off because they were determined to make Whipple “answer for this horrible crime.”  A previous booking photo of Whipple, dated April 2018, was provided in a press release from LVMPD.

Whipple was convicted in 2017 in Las Vegas of attempted possession of a stolen vehicle, according to Clark County District Court records. She was sentenced to four months in jail last year for violating probation in that case.

If you have knowledge of Whipple’s whereabouts or any information about the case, please call the Las Vegas Metro Police Department Homicide Section at 702-828-3521 or send an email to homicide@lvmpd.com.

 

 

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The actor Kevin Spacey has been charged with felony sexual assault for allegedly sexually assaulting a teenager in a bar in Massachusetts in 2016.  A public show-cause hearing was held for the case Dec. 20 where Clerk Magistrate Ryan Kearney issued a criminal complaint for the charge against Kevin S. Fowler, also known as Kevin Spacey.  Spacey is due in court on January 7 to face the felony charge that could bring him up to five years in prison. Spacey has denied the charges.

The alleged assault on a male victim took place at a Nantucket bar in July 2016.  Last year, former Boston TV news anchor Heather Unruh held a press conference to share her son’s allegation of sexual assault against Spacey.  She stated that her then 18-year-old son said was sexually assaulted by Spacey inside the Club Car Restaurant on Nantucket. Unruh says her son was not of legal drinking age but had told Spacey he was and that the actor bought him drink after drink after drink.  “My son was a starstruck, straight 18-year-old young man who had no idea that the famous actor was an alleged sexual predator or that he was about to become his next victim,” she said at the time. “When my son was drunk, Spacey made his move and sexually assaulted him.”

The Nantucket Police Department began its criminal investigation in November 2017, said Massachusetts attorney Mitchell Garabedian, the attorney for the alleged victim.   The department has since transferred the case to the district attorney’s office.  Garabedian said in a statement, “The complainant has shown a tremendous amount of courage in coming forward. Let the facts be presented, the relevant law applied and a just and fair verdict rendered.”  Multiple men have come forward with accusations of sexual assault and harassment against Spacey since October 2017, which prompted Netflix to abruptly cut ties with and drop the actor from its hit political drama House of Cards.  Spacey is still under investigation in Los Angeles and in England for other alleged sexual assaults.

Soon after the charges were filed against Spacey, the actor posted a bizarre video to his Twitter account where he portrays his House of Cards character Frank Underwood.  The actor addresses his House of Cards fate while also saying that he knows his fans want him back.  “I know what you want,” Spacey begins in Frank’s accent. “Oh sure, they may have tried to separate us, but what we have is too strong, too powerful. After all, we shared everything, you and I. I told you my deepest, darkest secrets. I showed you exactly what people are capable of. I shocked you with my honestly, but mostly I challenged you and made you think. And you trusted me, even though you knew you shouldn’t. So we’re not done, no matter what anyone says. And besides, I know what you want. You want me back.”

“Of course, some believed everything and have been just waiting with bated breath to hear me confess it all. They’re just dying to have me declare that everything said is true and that I got what I deserved. Only you and I both know it’s never that simple, not in politics and not in life,” he says. “All this presumption made for such an unsatisfying ending, and to think it could have been such a memorable sendoff.” He goes on to say that in both life and in art, nothing should be off the table: “I can promise you this. If I didn’t pay the price for the things we both know I did do, I’m certainly not going to pay the price for the things I didn’t do.”  Spacey ended the 3 minute video by directly calling out his death on House of Cards.  The actor puts on Frank’s signature ring before walking off. “My confidence grows each day that soon enough, you will know the full truth,” he says. “Wait a minute, now that I think of it, you never actually saw me die, did you? Conclusions can be so deceiving.”

 

 

 

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The Phoenix man involved in a murder suicide had lost his mother and brother to murder at the hands of his father.  Phoenix police say officers were doing a welfare check at a home on December 23rd at around 7:15 p.m. and forced their way inside after nobody came to the door.  Sgt. Tommy Thompson says they found 36-year-old Jocelyn Casdorph and 47-year-old Victor Issa dead.  A preliminary investigation indicates Victor Issa shot Casdorph and then himself.

Authorities say Victor Issa’s family had a history of domestic violence that resulted in the incarceration of his father and brother and the deaths of his mother and the same brother in California.  In 2010, his brother Amier Rocky Issa was convicted of slashing a former boyfriend’s face with a knife.  During jury deliberations, he fled to Las Vegas and was rearrested at the MGM Grand hotel with medications, large quantities of salt he had been eating, a rope and a tent, court records show.  Amier was sentenced to treatment at a state mental hospital and then to three years’ probation with further mental-health treatment and a domestic-violence class.

Six years later, between March 27 and 29, 2016, Shehada Issa fatally stabbed his wife inside their LA home and on March 29, 2016, fatally shot Amier Rocky Issa, 38 on the front lawn of the home.  The case drew national attention as family members said Shehada Issa wanted to kill his son because he was gay.

When police arrived at the family’s home, officers found the son’s body outside and the mother’s body was found inside a bathroom, according to evidence presented at trial.  Police said the father admitted to shooting his son with a shotgun, but said that it was in self-defense. His defense attorney argued that Amier Issa had killed his mother and threatened to kill his father with a knife, causing Issa to shoot his son in self-defense.   Detectives said Shehada’s story did not match with evidence at the scene, saying there was no knife found near his son’s body.

Prosecutors in the case told jurors that Issa thought he had committed the “perfect crime” by killing his wife and blaming it on his gay son, whom he claimed to have shot to death in self-defense.  According to prosecutors, Issa had a longtime gambling problem that caused him to have a constant need for cash and that Issa’s wife didn’t want to put their North Hills home up for sale.  The woman had told her husband that she would not sign home sale papers, and he responded by threatening her life and listing the home anyway.  During the trial, Victor Issa testified that his father was a troubled gambler who had a violent, abusive relationship with his mother Rabihah and an ever-increasing hatred for his gay son.  He told jurors about constant money problems and squabbles within the home as a result of his father’s gambling. He also said that when the defendant found out that Rocky was gay, “their relationship changed” and his father nursed a growing hatred for Amier Rocky.  He testified that his father detested the fact that his son was gay and was ashamed of him.  Victor said “He called him things like ‘whore of Babylon.’  It was constant for years. It was, ‘He deserves to die.’ ”   Shehada Issa was sentenced in 2017 to two consecutive life sentences plus 26 years in the murders.

Amier Rocky posted a message to Facebook ten days before the murder suicide saying he was worried that his parents, brother and sister were “literally controlling me in my sleep.  If there is a devil or evil spirit, I truly believe it manifests itself in my family.”

Strasbourg Shooter Killed

 

 

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French Police have shot and killed 29-year-old Chérif Chekatt, the suspected gunman of the attack at an outdoor Christmas market in the northeast city of Strasbourg which killed five people and injured 11 others.  French authorities say Chekatt had multiple criminal convictions and was on a security services watchlist as a suspected Islamist extremist.  Chekatt was reportedly scheduled to be arrested for an armed robbery and attempted murder charge on the day of the shooting.

He was known to security services for a total of 27 convictions in France, Germany, and Switzerland, with 67 recorded crimes in France alone.  French police considered him a “gangster-jihadist”, a term referring to people convicted of various crimes and “radicalized” in prison.  Chekatt was released from prison in France in 2015, then received a prison sentence for theft in Singen, Germany and was expelled to France after his release in 2017.

On December 11th, just before 8pm, Chekatt allegedly entered the outdoor market area and opened fire in three different areas.  The shooting lasted ten minutes and was heard shouting “Allahu akbar” as he fired into the crowd.  He also attacked people with a knife before exchanging fire with soldiers of Opération Sentinelle  and with the National Police.  Despite being shot in the arm during the shootout with authorities, he escaped the area in a taxi cab.  The cab driver was unharmed and reported having taken an armed and wounded man from the area to police immediately.

France issued the highest level of security alert and two days later Chekatt was killed in a shootout with French police after a manhunt involving 700 officers.  An investigation was initiated after the attack and four people close to Chekatt were detained for questioning after the shooting.  Those detained were his father, his mother, and two of his brothers.  A fifth person was taken into custody and a search warrant was issued in Algeria for a “very radicalized” third brother.  Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz, who handles terror cases throughout France, told a news conference that a total of seven people were in police custody.  His parents and two of his brothers were later released “due to the lack of incriminating evidence at this stage” according to the prosecutor’s office.

Two victims of the shooting died at the scene and the three others later died in the hospital.  Four of the 11 people injured are in critical condition.  Anupong Suebsamarn, 45, a tourist from Thailand was shot multiple times and died at the scene.  He was on holiday with his wife, who was also shot but survived.  Strasbourg mayor Roland Ries told French TV that a local resident who has only been identified as a 61-year-old retired bank employee had also been killed.  Kamal Naghchband, a 45 year old mechanic and father of three was shot in the head while walking with his family.  He fell into a coma and died two days later.    Antonio Megalizzi, a 29-year-old Italian journalist covering the European Parliament plenary session was critically injured and died of his wounds three days later.  Barto Pedro Orent-Niedzielski, a 36-year-old Polish-born man was also critically injured in the attack and his death was announced three days later.   Orent-Niedzielski and his Italian friend Antonio Megalizzi, who were at the market together, were severely injured when they tried to stop Chekatt from entering a bar during the assault.

 

 

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James A. Fields Jr., the neo-Nazi who rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters at the Unite The Right rally on August 12, 2017, has been sentenced to life for first-degree murder; 70 years for each of five counts of aggravated malicious wounding; 20 years for each of three counts of malicious wounding; and nine years for leaving the scene of a fatal crash.  The jurors were instructed that the sentences would be “presumed to be consecutive” unless they recommended that the terms be served simultaneously. Fields’s overall sentence: life plus 419 years and $480,000 in fines.

The jury of seven women and five men convicted Fields of the 10 offenses in a Charlottesville Circuit Court.  In Virginia, trial juries determine what penalties should be handed out within sentencing ranges dictated by law.  Judge Richard E. Moore, who said he will formally sentence Fields on March 29th, can impose a lesser punishment than the jurors called for but is not allowed to increase the sentences.

During the trial, Fields psychiatric disorders dating to early childhood were detailed in court by a mental-health expert.  Psychologist Daniel Murrie testified that Fields was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 6 and has been prone to angry, sometimes violent outbursts since before he could walk and was “expelled from preschool” because of his volatile behavior.  As an adolescent, he was found to have schizoid personality disorder and was housed in psychiatric facilities for three stretches before his 15th birthday.

Murrie testified that Fields did not meet Virginia’s legal definition for not guilty by reason of insanity.  To be acquitted on the basis of insanity, a defendant must show that he did not understand the difference between right and wrong at the time of the offense or was mentally unable to control his actions.  Fields did not deny that he intentionally accelerated his Dodge Challenger into a group of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.  His lawyers contended that he was afraid for his safety and acted to protect himself but jurors rejected that argument and issued 10 guilty verdicts.

Several of the injured victims, testified at Fields’s trial and sentencing hearing, described lasting physical wounds, psychological anguish and dire financial distress.  They described their injuries including shattered bones and debilitating nerve damage that they may never fully recover from.  They spoke of nightmares, social isolation caused by post-traumatic stress disorder and crushing medical bills from surgeries that have depleted their insurance and could burden them far into the future.

Fields faces a separate federal trial for alleged hate crimes related to the incident, including one offense that carries a possible death sentence. No trial date has been set and the Justice Department has not said whether it will seek capital punishment.

 

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In France, the “yellow vest” protests continued for a fourth consecutive week with an estimated 130,000 people taking to the streets across the country.  Protesters and police clashed again in the capital and other cities with police firing rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas at crowds, and some protesters smashing windows and setting vehicles on fire resulting in over 1,700 arrests.

Civil unrest began on November 17th and have continued over the four weeks with little signs of slowing.  The protesters were dubbed “Les gilets jaunes” (the yellow vests) after the high-visibility jackets they adopted as a symbol of their complaint, blocked roundabouts, burned effigies and clashed with the police. They were objecting the almost 20 percent increase in the price of diesel since the start of the year, as well as the planned fuel tax hike President Emmanuel Macron had recently announced.  The demands have also expanded, with even students taking part, calling for changes to the French high school examinations and university entrance procedures.

The intensity of the protests forced the government to halt the plans for the fuel tax hike but demonstrators are calling for additional economic reforms, and many for the resignation of President Emmanuel Macron.  While Macron said the tax was necessary to “protect the environment” and “combat climate change”, protesters claimed the decision was yet another sign that the “privileged” president is out of touch with regular folk struggling to make ends meet.

In Paris, major attractions, including the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, are closed in anticipation of the demonstrations.  After images of police using tear gas and tanks against protesters in Paris hit newspapers worldwide, President Emmanuel Macron delivered a national address announcing he would raise the minimum wage and cancel a tax increase on low-income retirees.  In his address to the nation, Macron said the violent protests — which have morphed from a grassroots movement against fuel tax hikes into disparate demonstrations against his presidency — have been “unacceptable” and “will not be in any way indulged.”

He proposed some social reforms, including an increase in the minimum wage by 100 euros ($113) a month beginning in January that will not cost employers extra and a promise that overtime hours will not be taxed. Macron also remained defiant and said he would not reinstate the wealth tax but would fight tax fraud.  The reforms are expected to cost the government between $8.1 billion and $10.1 billion, according to Olivier Dussopt, France’s secretary of state to the Ministry of Public Action and Accounts.

While Macron’s announcement has appeased some demonstrators, some 77,000 people still turned out across the country, including 10,000 in Paris.  On December 8, many Paris tourist hot spots and stores were shuttered in anticipation of violent protests after the previous week’s demonstrations resulted in the worst riots to hit the French capital in decades. By the end of the week, 1,723 people had been taken in for questioning and 1,220 into custody, according to the Interior Ministry. Across the country, 135 people were reported injured.

 

 

 

 

 

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Four Missouri police officers have been indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with the assault of a fellow officer who was working undercover.  Officers Dustin Boone, Randy Hays and Christopher Myers with St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department are accused of beating the undercover officer with a riot baton and tampering with witnesses to cover up the incident, according to the Department of Justice. Myers was also charged with destroying evidence. Officer Bailey Colletta was indicted on a charge of providing false statements to a federal grand jury in connection with the incident.

The indictment charges officers Dustin Boone, 35, Bailey Colletta, 25, Randy Hays, 31, and Christopher Myers, 27, with various felonies, including deprivation of constitutional rights, conspiracy to obstruct justice, destruction of evidence, and obstruction of justice.  One of the charges carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The other three carry a maximum of 20 years. All four counts have a maximum of $250,000 in fines.  All four officers have been placed on administrative leave without pay.

In September 2017, the officers were assigned to a Civil Disobedience Team, which conducts crowd control, in anticipation of a protest against the acquittal of Officer Jason Stockley in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith.  Protests broke out in St. Louis and a 22-year veteran of the St. Louis Police Department — referred to in the indictment as L.H. — was in the crowd working undercover as a protester to document crimes among the demonstrators so law enforcement could make arrests, according to the indictment.

The indictment claims the three officers believed Hall was a protester and assaulted him “while he was compliant and not posing a physical threat to anyone.”   The indictment alleges that Boone, Hays and Myers threw Luther Hall to the ground without probable cause and began to kick him and strike him with a riot baton.  Once Myers, Boone and Hays learned that Hall was a police officer, the indictment says, they made false statements justifying the assault, contacted Hall to dissuade him from taking legal action and contacted witnesses to try to influence their testimony.  Myers also destroyed Hall’s cellphone “with the intent to impede, obstruct, and influence the investigation,” according to the indictment.

The indictment also details text messages between Myers, Boone and Hays prior to the incident.  “We really need these f**kers to start acting up so we can have some fun,” Boone texted, after they determined they were going to be on the same team.  “A lot of cops getting hurt, but it’s still a blast beating people that deserve it,” said another text from Boone.  He also remarked that he would be working with a black officer and referred to him as “a thug that’s on our side.”  Hayes also texted Boone “Remember we are in south city. They support us but also cameras. So make sure you have an old white dude as a witness.”

According to the indictment, Officer Colletta — who was in a romantic relationship at the time with Hays,  was on the team that night and offered inconsistent explanations as to why they arrested L.H.  Initially, Colletta said she had never come into contact with Hall that night. Then, she claimed that she witnessed the arrest and saw Hall taken to the ground “very gently.”  Colletta also said the group had “veered off” to arrest Hall, according to the indictment. The next day, she said she learned from her sergeant that they had stopped Hall because he fit the description of a radio dispatch yet in a later statement, she claimed she didn’t recall anyone saying that.

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The former Dallas police officer who shot and killed a 26-year-old man in his own apartment has been indicted for murder after a grand jury decided to pursue the murder charge after hearing testimonies in the case.  Officer Amber Guyger, 30, entered Botham Jean’s apartment, where she shot and killed him on September 6.  Guyger turned herself in at the Mesquite jail to be booked on the murder charge, Mesquite police Lt. Stephen Biggs said. She quickly posted a $200,000 bond, nearly three months after posting a $300,000 bond on the original manslaughter charge.  Guyger faces five years to life in prison if convicted on the murder charge.

Guyger claimed she thought she was entering her own apartment, ultimately shooting what she thought was a burglar and was initially arrested on a manslaughter charge three days after the shooting.  Jean had been watching football in his apartment a few blocks north of police headquarters in the Cedars.  Guyger, who had just finished her police shift, entered and shot him.  She told authorities she had mistaken Jean’s apartment for her own and believed he was a burglar. Jean lived in the apartment directly above Guyger’s at the South Side Flats complex.

A neighbor captured a video of the immediate aftermath on her cellphone, recording Guyger calling the department she worked for to report what happened.  The shooting immediately became national news and the Dallas Police Department helped share Guyger’s narrative of what happened though she wasn’t charged with any crime for 3 days and the department failed to search her apartment before she moved.

Guyger claims the door was ajar and opened when she tried to unlock it but lawyers for Mr. Jean’s family have said that the door was closed, and that neighbors heard someone banging on the door, demanding to be let in, before the gun was fired.  Guyger fired her service weapon twice, striking Botham Jean once in the torso, according to court documents.  Mr. Jean, who worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, died at a hospital.  Protesters rallied for weeks in Dallas after Jean’s death resulting in Guyger being fired from the department on Sept. 24th.  The department said that she was “terminated for her actions” during her arrest on manslaughter charges.

Guyger’s lawyer, Robert L. Rogers, said his client was not guilty of murder.  “I’m not surprised that there was an indictment returned, due to what I perceived to be a tremendous amount of outside political pressure, a tremendous outpouring of vindictive emotion towards my client, and actual emotion that I believe was injected into the grand jury process,” Mr. Rogers said in an interview.  Rogers said Ms. Guyger was not guilty because she believed that she was inside her apartment that night.  “I believe it was reasonable for her to believe that she was being threatened with an intruder in her home and therefore she acted in self-defense,” he said. “The law justifies her actions.”

 

 

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The trial has begun for James Fields, the self-described neo-Nazi charged with killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 35 others at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.  Twenty-one-year-old Fields is standing trial for first-degree murder, five counts of aggravated malicious wounding, three counts of malicious wounding and failure to stop at the scene of a fatal accident in connection with a car attack on Aug. 12, 2017.  He has entered a not guilty plea and faces 20 years to life in prison if convicted of first degree murder.

Fields is accused of ramming his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.  Video of the incident shows Field’s Dodge Challenger stopping a short distance from those marching in the area reversing, but then accelerating forward into them.  Witnesses say Fields slowly backed up his car in a downtown street then rapidly accelerated, ran through a stop sign and across a raised pedestrian mall, and drove directly into the crowd, hitting numerous individuals including Heather Heyer before ramming into a sedan.  The impact sent people flying through the air.  A few seconds after the initial impact, Fields drove in reverse at a high rate of speed for several blocks- hitting more people.  Pedestrians who had avoided the attack chased Fields along Fourth Street until he turned left and sped off down Market Street.

A Virginia State Police Bell 407 helicopter followed the car and relayed its route to ground units.  A deputy stopped and arrested Fields about a mile from the attack.  Charlottesville Police Det. Steven Young, who arrived at the scene of Field’s arrest, testified that Fields appeared  shocked and repeatedly apologized while sobbing when he was told a woman had been killed.  Young said that the Dodge had holes in the rear window—made by counter-protesters after the initial impact and heavy front-end damage. Young said that the car was “splattered” with blood and flesh with a pair of blue sunglasses stuck in the spoiler on the car’s trunk.   Young also testified that footage from the Unite the Right rally earlier in the day shows Fields chanting homophobic and anti-Semitic slurs as he marched with others.  A short time later, the helicopter footage shows his car driving into the crowd.

Testimony in the trial has largely featured first-hand accounts from people who were injured by the car attack on Fourth Street, by the intersection with Water Street.  Survivors of the deadly crash testified that the mood among counter-protesters was upbeat and celebratory before Fields slammed his Dodge Challenger into another car, triggering a chain reaction that hurled people in different directions.   Witnesses recounted the chaotic scene and testified to a litany of injuries they suffered in the crash, some of which they are still recovering from.

Ryan Kelly, a photojournalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for a photo he took that captured the moment Field’s car made impact with the crowd, also testified in the trial.  He testified that he saw the Challenger slowly backing up the hill. “I thought it was trying to get out of the way,” Kelly testified.  Then, he said he heard tires screech and saw the car speed past him on 4th Street.  “I saw the car accelerate the whole way into the protestors,” he said. “It was going fast into the crowd.”  Survivor and witness Star Peterson is also expected to testify in the trial.  Her right leg was crushed by Fields’ car resulting in her having five surgeries.  She still uses a wheelchair and cane.

Separately, a Virginia grand jury has charged Fields with 30 federal hate crime charges, some of which could result in the death penalty.  He has pled not guilty in those charges as well and no trial date has been set.