Church in Nelson County desecrated with banner defending James Fields, Jr.
A white sheet covered the Pine Hill Baptist Church sign for all who traveled north on Route 29 through Nelson County to see. It read, "JAMES FIELDS DID NOTHING WRONG."
It was less than a week after
James Fields, Jr. should spend the rest of his life in prison for murdering Heather Heyer and injuring others when he drove a car into a crowd of protesters during Charlottesville's 'Unite the Right' rally on Aug. 12, 2017.
Marissa Martin said Pine Hill is the church where she grew up surrounded by her relatives. Now, she fears that they are being targeted because of her.
"Unfortunately, she was with us and with a group of people who were marching up Fourth Street," said Martin. "And Heather got hit. And we found out in the hospital."
She watched as her husband Marcus and Heyer were hit by Fields' car on the day Charlottesville became an international topic of conversation.
symbol of the attack because of the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo taken at the moment he was knocked onto the hood of Fields' Dodge Challenger.
Marissa wants to believe that this connection to her and the church is just a coincidence.
"I just want to hope that it wasn't specifically targeting me," said Martin. "I want to hope that this isn't the community. That this is a very few select individuals."
The bottom of the banner cited the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website that has blogged about the Fields case, unhappy with his conviction.
Pastor Aaron Wade said the sheet was taken down before the service. He addressed it with the congregation in his sermon.
"We embrace the fact that love is greater than hate," said Wade. "One of the greatest tests in life is the ability to love your enemies."
Wade said the Nelson County Sheriff's Office took the sheet as evidence to try to find who left it. Nelson County Commonwealth's Attorney Daniel Rutherford said if the sheriff's office finds who it was and recommends charges, then they will be prosecuted.
"To anyone who thinks that either they can intimidate or can put their delusions about what might have occurred from when the jury spoke in Charlottesville, is not just plainly wrong, but picked the wrong county to do that in," said Rutherford.
WHSV's sister station, WCAV, has contacted the publisher of the Daily Stormer, Andrew Anglin. This web story will be updated if he responds.
This is far from the first instance in which supporters of Fields, a white nationalist who had a long history of supporting Nazi ideology, have attempted to intimidate others in connection with his trial. As the trial began,
targeted people throughout Charlottesville.
Related StoriesMan accused of Charlottesville car attack now faces first-degree murder
Federal hate crime charges filed in Charlottesville rally death
Charlottesville suspect pleads not guilty to hate crimes in car attack
Virginia trial likely first for man charged in fatal Charlottesville car attack
Judge denies Charlottesville car attack suspect's change of venue request
Lawyers in Charlottesville killing want juror biases exposed
Jury selection begins in James Fields' trial
With the jury sworn in, James Fields trial begins with opening statements
Robocall makes anti-Semitic, racist claims about Heyer's death
Detective offers graphic depiction of Charlottesville car attack scene
Judge allows texts and calls from Fields as evidence in trial
Final defense witness located after brief confusion in Fields trial
James Fields convicted of first-degree murder in Charlottesville car attack
Sentencing postponed for 'Unite the Right' rally killer