UPDATE: CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – A jury has recommended life in prison plus 419 years for a man convicted of murder for driving his car into counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally last year. The jury made its recommendation on Tuesday, a day after listening to emotional statements from the mother of a woman who was killed and from numerous people who were injured. James Alex Fields Jr. plowed into the counterprotesters during a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12, 2017.
The jury reached its sentencing verdict shortly before noon Tuesday, after about four hours of deliberations over two days. Jurors also recommended 70 years for each of five malicious wounding charges, 20 for each of three malicious wounding charges, and nine years on one charge of leaving the scene of an accident.
On Friday, the same jury convicted Fields of first-degree murder and other felonies, rejecting his lawyers’ arguments that he had acted in self-defense.
PREVIOUS: A man convicted of first-degree murder for driving his car into counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia faces 20 years to life in prison as jurors reconvene to consider his punishment. The panel that convicted James Alex Fields Jr. will hear more evidence Monday and then recommend a sentence to Judge Richard Moore. Fields was convicted Friday of killing Heather Heyer during last year’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, organized to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederal Gen. Robert E. Lee. The 21-year-old Fields, of Maumee, Ohio, also was found guilty of injuring dozens of others by driving into a crowd of people who were marching peacefully after the rally.
PREVIOUS: CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – A man who drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia has been convicted of first-degree murder. In delivering its verdict late Friday afternoon, the jury rejected arguments by lawyers for James Alex Fields Jr. that he acted in self-defense. Prosecutors said Fields drove his car directly into a crowd of counterprotesters at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017, because he was angry after witnessing earlier violent clashes between the two sides. The rally was held to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Fields’ lawyers told the jury he feared for his life after witnessing the violence. The 21-year-old Fields of Maumee, Ohio, faces up to life in prison at sentencing.
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) _ Students at a university in Virginia are pushing the school’s leaders to provide free tampons and other menstrual products. The Virginian-Pilot reported Monday that the efforts by students at Christopher Newport University in Newport News are part of a larger movement around the country. The efforts include removing obstacles to getting menstrual products on campus. Christopher Newport University has a local chapter of the organization called PERIOD. It’s a national nonprofit that advocates for women on menstrual issues. It has started a petition that asks the school to provide what they say are basic necessities and to “end period poverty.” The push is part of a national campaign called United for Access. The force behind it is PERIOD and THINX, which makes “period-proof underwear.’
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia House Democrats have picked Del. Eileen Filler-Corn to be their new leader, a move that could help pave the way for her to become the state’s first female House speaker. House Democrats announced Saturday they had elected Filler-Corn to replace House Minority Leader David Toscano. He had recently announced plans to step down from a leadership position. Roanoke Delegate Sam Rasoul was among others who had expressed an interest in the position.
Democrats need to win two seats next year to claim a majority. The party has done well in recent Virginia elections thanks to voter antipathy toward President Donald Trump. An ongoing legal battle could also produce a Democrat-friendly legislative map for next year’s elections.
Filler-Corn is a director of government relations at a lobbying and consulting firm and lives in Northern Virginia.
WEST POINT, Va. (AP) _ A Virginia high school teacher is fighting a recommendation to be dismissed in the wake of a controversy involving a transgender student. News outlets report West Point High School French teacher Peter Vlaming was placed on paid administrative leave Oct. 3. Attorney Shawn Voyles said his client declined a female student’s request to be referred to as a male. Before a school board hearing Thursday, Voyles said Vlaming offered to use the student’s name and to avoid feminine pronouns, but the school was unwilling to accept the compromise and chose to force Vlaming to speak and act contrary to his own Christian convictions or be fired. An online petition entitled “Protect Trans Kids” said the student had been openly trans for the whole year and students were constantly correcting Vlaming.
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) _ Authorities say a Pulaski County pastor has been accused of molesting a girl in West Virginia. The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office tells The Exponent Telegram that 76-year-old Daniel Houston Shafer is jailed in Dublin, Virginia and that he’s waived extradition. Detective Sgt. Zach Mealey says Shafer is accused of inappropriately touching a girl younger than 12 while visiting Harrison County this year. He says Shafer will be taken to county Magistrate Court for an initial appearance on a first-degree sexual abuse charge. The sheriff’s office has until next Monday to pick Shafer up. It is unclear if Shafer has a lawyer who could comment for him.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ A jury has been seated in the trial of an Ohio man accused of killing a woman and injuring dozens at a white nationalist rally in Virginia last year. Jury selection was completed Thursday morning in the trial of James Alex Fields Jr., of Maumee, Ohio. He’s charged with first-degree murder and accused of driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters during a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017. Opening statements from prosecutors and Fields’ lawyers were expected to begin after a brief court recess. Fields’ lawyer has indicated Fields may claim he was acting in self-defense. Prosecutors say he intentionally plowed his car into the group. A jury of 12 regular jurors and four alternates will hear the case.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia Republicans have asked a federal court to move Virginia’s 2019 primary schedule back three months to allow the U.S. Supreme Court to settle a redistricting lawsuit. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox Wednesday formally requested Wednesday the district court suspend efforts to redraw 11 House districts found to be racially gerrymandered. Republicans have appealed the ruling that the districts are unconstitutional to the Supreme Court in an attempt to stave off a new, more Democratic-friendly map. A Supreme Court ruling isn’t likely to come until May or June. Legislative primaries are scheduled for June 11, which Cox wants rescheduled to Sept. 10. A court-appointed expert is scheduled to file a redrawn map Dec. 7. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday he hopes the outstanding legal issues are quickly resolved.
Advance Auto Parts is moving its headquarters Roanoke to Raleigh North Carolina. It’s not a major surprise: the company had placed many of its top executives in Raleigh after buying out competitor Carquest. Advance says it will continue to employ about 600 people in Roanoke, the city where the company was founded almost 90 years ago. Before he became a minority owner of the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs, Chip Grubb spent 18 years working in Human Resources for Advance in Roanoke. He says more than a thousand employees worked for Advance Auto Parts while he was there.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Advance Auto Parts Inc. is moving its headquarters from the Virginia city that was its home for nearly 90 years to North Carolina’s tech-heavy capital city, the company announced Wednesday. The parts retailer plans to continue employing about 600 employees in Roanoke, Virginia, but the headquarters move and expansion in Raleigh were prompted by the relative ease in attracting computer-savvy talent as the company broadens its online presence, CEO Tom Greco said. “Talent availability is absolutely the No. 1 driver. You have to have access to software developers, software engineers,” Greco said. “We have a great talent pool here in Raleigh to do that type of work.”
The move adds about 435 jobs in Raleigh, most of them focused on data analytics, internet commerce and other computer technology roles. The jobs must pay an average of $96,000 a year and Advanced Auto Parts must maintain more than 700 positions already in North Carolina in return for an $11 million package of state and local incentives approved Wednesday. Advance Auto Parts had split corporate and support operations between Roanoke and Raleigh for four years after buying Raleigh-based General Parts International Inc. The majority of Advanced Auto’s top executives were already based in Raleigh, Greco said. North Carolina kept the combined company’s corporate operations in Raleigh in 2014 with more than $17 million in tax breaks.
Advance Auto Parts started as a variety-store chain in Roanoke in the 1930s and became a specialty auto parts chain in the 1970s under Nicholas Taubman, who succeeded his father as top executive.
Advance Auto Parts operates nearly 5,000 stores in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The company this month reported profits of $370 million over the first three quarters of the year, up 27 percent over last year.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Jury selection is continuing at a slow pace in the trial of an Ohio man accused of killing a woman during a white nationalist rally in Virginia last year.James Alex Fields Jr. is charged with first-degree murder and nine other charges for allegedly driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017. A 32-year-old woman was killed and dozens of others were injured.Jury selection began Monday in a process Judge Richard Moore described as “slow going.” The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that as of late Tuesday morning, four jurors had been agreed upon by prosecutors and Fields’ lawyers. The jury will be made up of 12 regular jurors, plus four alternates. Moore said Tuesday that he doesn’t expect to seat a jury until Wednesday.