Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Charlottesville car-rammer James Alex Fields Jr found guilty of murder

Charlottesville car-rammer James Alex Fields Jr found guilty of murder

Separately, Fields also faces dozens of federal charges, including hate crimes, which could result in the death penalty. As reported by NPR, Fields was hit with first-degree murder, along with multiple counts of aggravated malicious wounding, malicious wounding and leaving the scene of an accident.

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. The trial featured emotional testimony from survivors who described devastating injuries and long, complicated recoveries. When Fields' mother responded, she noted how Heyer's mother Susan Bro "lost her daughter". After the August violence, the council voted to sell both statues, but they remain in place for now under a court injunction.

The judge ruled that the text would be allowed to be entered as evidence, despite Fields' lawyer's protests, saying that it shows intent or motive of malice, according to The Associated Press.

The Charlottesville clashes stirred tensions across the country after Donald Trump said "both sides" were to blame and that there were "very fine people" among both the white supremacists and their opponents.

Fields had driven to Charlottesville from his home in OH to take part in the "Unite the Right" demonstration, which saw hundreds of neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan members march through the university town to protest the removal of a statue of a Confederate War general.

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.

One of Fields' former teachers said the 21-year-old showed a strong interest in Nazi ideology and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in high school. When his mother pleaded with him to be careful, he replied: "we're not the one (sic) who need to be careful".

But Fields' lawyer said he panicked and was "scared to death" after witnessing violent clashes earlier in the day.

They also showed the jury two Instagram posts Fields uploaded in May that showed a auto ramming into a group of protesters, arguing that he ultimately chose to live out that fantasy when the opportunity arose three months later.

Fields referred to Heyer's mother in a recorded jailhouse phone call as a "communist" and "one of those anti-white supremacists". He posted the meme publicly to his Instagram page and sent a similar image as a private message to a friend in May 2017. In her final address to the jury Thursday, Senior-Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Nina-Alice Antony showed a close-up of Fields in his vehicle to rebut the idea that he was frightened when he acted. A video of Fields being interrogated after the crash showed him sobbing and hyperventilating after he was told a woman had died and others were seriously injured. Under Virginia law, jurors can recommend from 20 years to life in prison on the first-degree murder charge. No trial has been scheduled yet.

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