Day 5 of testimony in Fields trial; defense calls more witnesses

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) -- Defense attorneys spent Tuesday calling witnesses to the stand in the trial for James Fields.

The attorneys continued trying to convince jurors that Fields was acting in self-defense when he drove his car into a crowd of counter protesters after the Unite the Right rally last year, killing one.

A young couple from Richmond testified that they met Fields in the afternoon, after the unlawful assembly was declared. The couple, Hayden Calhoun and Sarah Bolstad, attended the rally wearing similar outfits as Fields to hear from speakers such as Chris Cantwell, a white nationalist podcaster.
Calhoun and Bolstad said the early afternoon was chaotic and counter protesters were throwing bottles of urine and shouting at protesters.

Another witness described a similar scene to jurors, pointing to a picture of a person bleeding and a different picture of a counter-protester holding a sign that said, “This machine kills fascists.”

When Bolstad was asked if she identified with the people in the park that day who were protesting the removal of confederate monuments she said, “I guess.”

The couple met Fields after walking to McIntire Park. Fields was with another person and the two invited Calhoun and Bolstad to walk with them to avoid any violence from counter-protesters.

According to Bolstad, Fields was, “calm and normal.”

“He didn’t seem like the kind of person who would do that,” said Bolstad.

Fields drove Bolstad and Calhoun to their vehicle shortly after 1:15 p.m.

According to a digital forensic examiner, at 1:39 p.m., just three minutes before the incident on 4th St., Fields searched for directions to his hometown in Ohio. Philip DePue is a digital forensic examiner with Sensei Enterprises. He reviewed extraction reports from Fields’ phone, specifically his Google Maps application. DePue said Fields was given two different routes to take, but he was not able to determine which route Fields chose. Neither route told Fields to travel on 4th St. towards Water St.

Jurors also learned how fast Fields’ Dodge Challenger was traveling on 4th St. before it hit the crowd.

According to Virginia State Police Trooper Clifford Thomas, a crash re-constructionist with the Virginia State Police, the car was traveling at 28 mph before passing the pick-up truck parked on the side of the street. After the car passed the pick-up truck, it was traveling at 23 mph.

When the Dodge Challenger hit the Toyota Camry, the Camry was propelled forward at 17.1 mph.

The trial is slightly ahead of schedule. The defense will call two more witnesses Thursday morning, before handing the case over to the jury to deliberate.