Fields guilty of 1st-degree murder in Charlottesville auto attack

Fields guilty of 1st-degree murder in Charlottesville auto attack

James Alex Fields Jr. was convicted for murder and faces at least 20 years to life in the killing of a woman during a Charlottesville, Virginia white supremacist rally. What's more, Fields is due back in court to stand trial over a federal hate crime charge which could result in the death penalty if convicted.

Fields' sentencing will come at a later date, and he faces life in prison.

Fields ― a 21-year-old extremist associated with the hate group Vanguard America ― faced charges of first-degree murder and other felonies over the attack, in which he intentionally sped into protesters after the "Unite the Right" rally on August 12, killing one and injuring dozens more.

He was charged with first-degree murder over Heyer's death and five counts of aggravated malicious wounding along with three counts of malicious wounding and one count of a felony hit and run.

During the trial, prosecutors introduced evidence that Mr. Fields meant to commit harm when he drove from OH to attend the rally, which featured neo-Nazis bearing swastikas and Ku Klux Klan members.

The prosecution played videos that showed Fields stop his vehicle and reverse up a hill before commencing his deadly assault on a crowd of counter-protesters who were singing and celebrating after city officials had ordered the far right to leave. The trial featured emotional testimony from survivors who described devastating injuries and long, complicated recoveries.

Defence attorney Denise Lunsford told jurors in closing arguments that her client had expressed remorse when arrested, saying to police: "I'm sorry I didn't want to hurt anyone. We just don't", she said.

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The car-ramming incident capped a day of tensions and physical clashes between hundreds of white nationalists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis who had assembled in Charlottesville to protest plans to remove statues of two Confederate generals, and groups of opposing demonstrators.

James Alex Fields Jr., (2nd L with shield) is seen attending the "Unite the Right" rally in Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017.

Jurors were shown a text message he sent to his mother days before the rally that included an image of the wartime German dictator.

The rally brought out thousands of supporters of the alt-right, a loosely-knit coalition of white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis.

When his mother pleaded with him to be careful, he replied: "We're not the one (sic) who need to be careful". "This is the best I have been in a year and a half".

A jury of seven women and five men began deliberating Friday morning and took just over seven hours to reach its decision that James Alex Fields Jr., 21, of Maumee, Ohio, acted with premeditation when he backed up his 2010 Dodge Challenger and then roared it down a narrow downtown street crowded with counter protesters, slamming into them and another vehicle.

After the verdict was read in court, some of those who were injured embraced Heyer's mother, Susan Bro. No trial has been scheduled yet.

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