The same day that white nationalist Christopher Cantwell appeared in Albemarle County court on assault charges related to the Aug. 11 torch-lit march at the University of Virginia, a hearing for James Fields Jr. — the man accused of plowing his car into a group of protesters on Aug. 12 — was pushed to the end of this year.
Cantwell, from Keene, New Hampshire, faces two charges of illegal use of tear gas, phosgene or other gases and one charge of malicious bodily injury by means of a caustic substance or agent, according to UVa police.
Emily Gorcenski, who filed the complaint against Cantwell, said she was scared for her life on the night of Aug. 11 when she and a small group of UVa students were confronted by white nationalist marchers. The small group of students and locals showed up to protest the group of white supremacists who marched through Grounds carrying tiki torches.
Standing in front of the statue of Thomas Jefferson at UVa’s Rotunda that night, Gorcenski said she was doused in lighter fluid and maced.
“It was terrifying,” said Gorcenski. “Before the attacks happened, it was people in my face shouting hate and bigotry.”
“I literally expected to die that night,” she said.
Gorcenski also filed a protective order against Cantwell earlier this week, which she said is a fairly standard procedure with violent crimes. After watching Cantwell’s interview on VICE News, Gorcenski said Cantwell appeared to be well-armed and wanted to “become a more violent person.”
“I think it was the right thing I needed to do to protect myself and my family,” she said.
In Virginia, a protective order prohibits acts of violence or threats against the petitioner, and prohibits contact by the subject of the order with the person filing the order, according to state code.
In Albemarle County General District Court Thursday, Cantwell told a judge he plans to hire his own attorney. The judge did not set a bond, but told Cantwell his attorney could request a bond hearing at a future date.
Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Tracci told the judge the commonwealth would oppose bond for Cantwell.
Cantwell’s next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 12.
He is being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail after turning himself in to the Lynchburg Police Department on Wednesday afternoon.
Also on Thursday, a preliminary court hearing for Fields that was scheduled for Friday was continued until Dec. 14. Both the commonwealth and Fields’ defense attorney asked a judge to push the hearing to the later date, according to court documents.
Fields is accused of ramming his Dodge Challenger into a large group of counter-protesters marching through the downtown area following the failed Unite the Right rally on Aug. 12. The attack killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injured 30 others.
Fields is charged with second-degree murder, five counts of malicious wounding, three counts of aggravated malicious wounding and one count of hit-and-run.
Fields is also being held at Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.