Judge Rules DOJ Can Seize Money from Charlottesville Killer

March 14, 2023

A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that the Department of Justice can seize money that recently flowed into the prison inmate account of James Alex Fields, Jr.

Fields is the Ohio man who rammed his car into a group of anti-racism demonstrators who were counterprotesting white supremacists at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. Fields killed 32-year-old demonstrator Heather Heyer in the attack.

According to prosecutors, Fields has amassed “significant funds” while serving a life sentence in a Springfield, Missouri prison. The exact amount is not clear, but the DOJ has sought to seize at least $650 from Fields’ account that the Department says came from “various individuals” whose names have been sealed. 

Testimony during a federal lawsuit indicated that at least one known white supremacist had fed Fields’ prison account.

In a handwritten note, Fields asked the court to reduce the seizure to $298, but Federal Judge Michael Urbanski rejected his argument that some of the money should be preserved to pay for his phone calls, postage stamps and other “sundry items.” 

The legal dispute over Fields’ prison account has uncovered numerous recent incidents of prison misconduct by Fields. For example, he was fined $250 for possessing a “homemade weapon” in December 2020, and he made a “threatening remark” to an officer in January 2021. Other incidents have included being “insolent” to prison staff and refusing to appear at a court hearing. 

Fields’ defense attorney did not respond to a reporter’s request for comment, nor did a DOJ spokesperson.

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