Jury fails to reach verdict in Heather Heyer trial, but not before sending conflicting messages

The jury in the civil trial involving Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old activist who was killed after a man drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, has…

Jury fails to reach verdict in Heather Heyer trial, but not before sending conflicting messages

The jury in the civil trial involving Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old activist who was killed after a man drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, has failed to reach a verdict.

That began at 9:45 this morning.

The jury of seven men and five women is scheduled to reconvene at 1 p.m. to hear closing arguments. Judge Richard Moore will resume instructing the jury.

The jurors delivered conflicting verdicts Wednesday in the proceedings against James Alex Fields Jr., who drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in August 2017, killing Heyer and injuring dozens more. But the three-man, three-woman jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.

Shortly after noon on Wednesday, the judge announced that jurors had not been able to reach a unanimous verdict, meaning the trial would continue to go to a mistrial. They have been working since 6 a.m.

Judge Moore has been instructing them for almost an hour and explaining how to reach a verdict on all five counts.

Heyer’s mother and lawyer react to a jury not reaching a verdict in James Alex Fields Jr. civil trial https://t.co/f3MLnB8h3S pic.twitter.com/op2XPn7Frl — The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 18, 2017

The jury is made up of three men and five women. It was made up of the same jurors that saw Fields testify last week.

The trial of Fields began with jury selection last week. Jurors heard from witnesses who described a chaotic scene, watching vehicles careen into crowds of anti-racist protesters on August 12, 2017, a few days after the rally to protest the planned “Unite the Right” rally.

Footage from security cameras showed, also, a gray Dodge Challenger careening down a narrow street that separated the two opposing sides. The video showed marchers running from the car, including Heyer, a lawyer and Charlottesville paralegal who had been at the rally to oppose the neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members, who were already at the University of Virginia. The Challenger smashed into the left side of Heyer’s body, hurling her head-first into the windshield of a red sedan, then accelerating through the crowd of marchers. The Challenger plowed into a column of parked cars before coming to a stop, carrying the SUV’s front bumper across the street, crushing a store front and scattering debris.

This witness can be seen around the 4:40 mark in the video:

Meanwhile, in Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, a smiling Heather Heyer’s father, Mark Heyer, exits the courtroom after the jury has acquitted James Alex Fields Jr. in his civil trial over the death of his daughter, Heather, in Charlottesville, Va., Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Around the time of the trial’s conclusion, Mark Heyer addressed the media outside the Charlottesville courthouse.

“This nightmare is over. I am glad the jury was fair,” Heyer said. “I am glad these horrible people were held accountable. Heather would be alive today if there were not neo-Nazis and Nazi sympathizers.”

Heyer, who wears his daughter’s trademark “power suit” to court, said that he and his daughter wanted an act of justice for the day his daughter died.

“We were hoping for a verdict that would send a very strong message to people that there will be justice for Heather,” Heyer said. “An example of that justice was being made when James Alex Fields was found guilty of the murder of Heather Heyer.”

Read the full story and see the video of Heather Heyer’s funeral service at Mother Jones.

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