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Suspect Accused In Deadly Charlottesville, Virginia Car Ramming Faces Judge

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A judge on Monday denied bond for an Ohio man accused of plowing his car into a crowd at a white nationalist rally.

Judge Robert Downer said during a bond hearing Monday he would appoint a lawyer for 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., who made his first court appearance via video conference.

Fields is charged with second-degree murder and other counts. Authorities say he drove into the crowd of counter-protesters who'd gathered to oppose a rally by white nationalists and others who oppose a plan to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a Charlottesville park.

Authorities said 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed and 19 others were hurt. Two sheriff's deputies, Jake Cullen and Berk Bates, also died in a helicopter crash some distance from the scene.

Among the injured was Marcus Martin, who is now in a wheelchair with a broken leg. He said he could have never imagined things would go as wrong as they did Saturday as he and his fiance joined the counter-protest.

"My life could have been over, ended," he said. "I could have been dead right now."

Heyer was a friend of Martin and his fiance, Marissa Blair.

Heather Heyer
Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a man rammed into a crowd during a white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. (Credit: Office of Gov. Terry McAuliffe)

"She died for peace, she died for equality," Blair said. "She died because she believed everyone should get along."

Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, vowed to carry on her daughter's fight.

"I miss her so, so much, but I'm going to make her death worth something," Bro said. "No mother should have to give up her 32-year-old child."

The FBI and Department of Justice have opened a federal civil rights and hate crime investigation into Heyer's death and anyone else who may have incited violence in Charlottesville.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump gave a statement Monday condemning the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists calling them "criminals and thugs."

Trump has come under fire for his earlier comments Saturday that "many sides'' were to blame for the violence. In those remarks, he did not single out white supremacists or any other hate group.

A White House statement on Sunday said the president "condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred and of course that includes white Supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups." It added: "He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together."

Vice President Mike Pence, traveling in South America, condemned "these dangerous fringe groups" and said they "have no place in American public life and in the American debate."

"We have no tolerance for hate and violence from white supremacists, neo-Nazis or the KKK," he said. "These fringe groups have no place in public life or in the debate and we condemn them in the strongest possible way."

Speaking Monday on "CBS This Morning,"  Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the president.

"He called for unity in our country, called on us to get along with one another," Sessions said. "I thought that was strong and yesterday, his own spokesman condemned by name the Nazis and the KKK."

Sessions added, "I just think we're making too much out of this, I really do."

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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