After more than 20 witnesses and four days of testimony, prosecutors rested their case Tuesday afternoon in the first-degree murder trial of James Alex Fields Jr.
Defense attorney John Hill immediately moved to strike all but one of the charges against Fields, arguing in part that the commonwealth had not presented evidence that he acted with malice or intent to kill when he drove a Dodge Challenger into a large group of people at Fourth and Water streets on Aug. 12, 2017.
The defense has not contested that Fields was driving the car. Hill said in opening statements that a violent atmosphere caused his client to be afraid for his safety.
Judge Richard E. Moore rejected that motion, citing the evidence presented so far.
“I don't know what intent he would've had other than to kill,” he said. “We know what we saw.”
Moore also said Fields' claims of fear stood in contrast to the evidence.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Nina-Alice Antony opposed Hill’s motion, specifically noting evidence that showed the car backing up and then accelerating into the crowd.
“Reversing and going forward at high speed shows specific intent to kill,” she said.