Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Jury selection began Monday morning in the trial of the Ohio man accused of intentionally driving into a crowd during a counter-protest of a so-called "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year, killing one person and injuring 35 more.
James Alex Fields, Jr., 21, of the suburban Toledo, Ohio, town of Maumee, is charged with one count of first-degree murder in the death of Heather Heyer, 32, three counts of malicious wounding, five counts of aggravated malicious wounding and failing to stop at an accident involving a death for the August 2017 incident.
Lawyers began to whittle down a pool of 360 potential jurors in Charlottesville Circuit Court, starting with answers to a questionnaire that was sent to them last month, the Charlottesville Daily Progress reported.
Authorities charge that Fields, a self-described neo-Nazi, drove a 2010 Dodge Charger at a high rate of speed into people protesting the Unite the Right Rally that was organized by white nationalists. Police say that after hitting protesters, he backed up at a high rate of speed again and attempted to flee before he was captured.
Heyer died after the attack at the University of Virginia Medical Center.
Fields' court counselors, John Hill and Judge Richard Moore, questioned groups of 28 people in order to gauge their knowledge and opinions on the case. Hill also told a group of prospective jurors the court would hear evidence that Fields "thought he was acting in self-defense."
The jury selection process is expected to continue as late as Wednesday as the court looks to seat 12 jurors and four alternates.
Charlottesville police detective Steven Young testified during a pretrial hearing last year that authorities arrested Fields shortly after the car crash and that he began crying when they informed him that a woman was killed.
Fields would later tell a Virginia judge that he is being treated for bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Federal prosecutors in June charged Fields with one count of a hate crime act resulting in Heyer's death, 28 counts of hate crime acts causing bodily injury and involving an attempt to kill, and one count of racially motivated violent interference with a federally protected activity for driving his car into a crowd of protesters.
The 2017 rally sparked violence throughout Charlottesville as supporters of the event, which called for a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee not to be removed from a local park, squared off against counter-protesters.