Fields, 20, addresses packed Virginia courthouse by video link from county jail in first public appearance since since being charged

In a packed Virginia courthouse, a few hundred meters from the statue of the Confederate general Robert E Lee that led hundreds of neo-Nazis, armed militiamen and “alt-right” protesters to this small campus city over the weekend, James Alex Fields Jr made his first appearance in public since being charged with murder.

The 20-year-old is accused of mowing down a crowd of anti-fascist protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, a local paralegal, and injuring 19 others after 48 hours of violence in Charlottesville that has again exposed America’s fractured race relations to the world.

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