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ZACK WAJSGRAS/THE DAILY PROGRESS Attendees walk outside the Charlottesville Circuit Courthouse for a recess during the murder trial of James A. Fields Jr.'s on Thursday. After several days of questioning, a jury has been selected and both the prosecution and the defense have given their opening statements.


On Monday afternoon, Dr. Jennifer Bowers, an assistant chief medical examiner for the Western District of Virginia, told the court that Heather Heyer died of injuries consistent with blunt force trauma to the chest. Heyer suffered a severed aorta, punctured lungs, a broken femur and lacerations, Bowers said.


When Charlottesville Fire Captain Steward “Nick” Barrell reached Heather Heyer on Aug. 12, 2017, she had a large bruise on her chest, a leg wound and what he described in Charlottesville Circuit Court on Monday as “multi-systems trauma.” Barrell, who testified early on the sixth day of the trial of James Alex Fields, Jr, said he assisted with chest compressions on Heyer, 32.

Monday began the second week of Fields’ trial, which is scheduled to last three weeks. Fields faces a raft of charges, including first-degree murder in Heyer’s death, for the car attack that came after the Unite the Right rally broke up after being declared an unlawful assembly.

Barrell arrived at the scene at Fourth and Water Street with his engine, and said he could see a “hole” in the crowd, where he said he assumed there were “around 30 people.” He said he was told by a bystander that CPR was being performed on someone, whom he said was Heather Heyer.  

He described Heyer’s initial coloring as “salvageable patient color,” and assisted with chest compressions.

With her injuries, Barrell testified, Heyer stood a zero percent chance of survival outside of a hospital.

Marissa Blair Martin, whose husband Marcus Martin testified last week, also testified Monday morning. She was in downtown Charlottesville with Martin, who at the time was her fiancé, Heyer and another friend.

She described the crowd before the attack as “happy people” and said she initially had a hard time distinguishing between the police and the militia members who were at the rally. Martin suffered a broken leg in the attack, shortly after pushing Blair Martin out of the car’s path.

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