(CHARLOTTSVILLE, VA) - The Maumee man accused of running his car into a group of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia made his first court appearance on Monday.
James Fields Jr. was arraigned over a TV screen that was set up in the corner of the courtroom.
Outside of the courtroom a suspected Neo-Nazi sympathizer started shouting, which prompted people to shout back "Nazis, go home," and "We don't want you here."
The man was taken away by police into city hall.
The judge appointed an attorney to Fields Jr., who has yet to accept the case.
Police records show a glimpse of a potential violent childhood for Fields, who was accused of beating his mother and threatening her with a knife on two separate occasions when he was just 13.
Maumee police said they had pulled Fields over in May due to expired tags on his Dodge Challenger, the same car he used to run into the Virginia crowd.
Police say Fields was polite and paid the fine without any trouble.
"I think it's crazy how you would come from so far away to spew such hate and it's pretty sad that he actually, to realize that this is still so prevalent and prominent," said Chris McMillian, who drove into Virginia from the Washington, D.C. area. "I know it happens but to think it happens and to know it happens and then to see it happen are two totally different things, and it's completely sad."
Fields Jr. told the judge he works at Securitas, a security services company in Maumee, and makes $650 every two weeks. Fields Jr. said he had no ties to the Charlottesville area.
The judge told Fields Jr. that he was charged with murder, malicious wounding and hit and run. Fields told the judge that he understood those charges.
"This isn't about a statue," said Lucas De Lorenzo Eberly, who visited the Charlottesville Memorial. "This is about somebody with so much hate that they just tried to slaughter them."
Meanwhile, people placed flowers where the victims were hit at what is called the Pedestrian Mall. There was a special area to remember 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed.
"I needed to explain to the children what happened and needed to help them understand and I needed for them to see that it wasn't just us struggling to understand, that this is for everybody in our country. Not just us," said Diana Filipi, a Charlottesville resident.
Heyer's father, Mark Heyer, said Heather's passion for peace and justice was real, not just "lip service". He also shared his thoughts on Fields.
"I don't hold any ill will toward this young fellow that did this. He's stupid, okay? He's 20 years old. He doesn't have enough sense to make a lifelong decision about nothing. You know, I forgive him. Flat out, just forgive him," Heyer said.
Fields Jr. is being held without bond. He will next appear in court on August 25 at 11 a.m.