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    Charge upgraded against suspect in Charlottesville rally killing

    The Dodge Challenger crept up, reversed, then accelerated toward the crowd. As he watched a surveillance video of that moment — the car barreling toward people protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last summer — Marcus Martin grew angry and cursed out loud.
    “Take me out,” Martin yelled during a hearing in Charlottesville on Thursday for James Alex Fields Jr., the man who prosecutors say drove the Challenger. Martin, who was injured as he pushed his fiancée out of the car’s path, stormed out the courtroom.
    Prosecutors say Fields killed Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old Charlottesville paralegal, and injured others who were demonstrating against the “Unite the Right” rally. The event drew white nationalists and other far right organizations who opposed the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park.
    Fields, who initially was charged with second-degree murder and other offenses, now faces a charge of first-degree murder. A Charlottesville district court Judge announced the upgraded charge at the court hearing attended by Fields and about two dozen of Heyer’s family members and supporters.
    Prosecutors played the surveillance video from a Charlottesville restaurant in addition to a video from a Virginia State Police helicopter monitoring the events.
    Authorities say the footage captures Fields’ Challenger stopping about a block and a half away from protesters, reversing, then driving into the crowd and speeding away in reverse. Fields was apprehended about four minutes after the collision, about a mile away.

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