Man guilty of mur­der

Mowed down pro­test­ers in Vir­ginia

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS -

CHAR­LOTTESVILLE, Va. — A man who drove his car into a crowd of counter-pro­test­ers at a white na­tion­al­ist rally in Vir­ginia was con­victed Fri­day of first-de­gree mur­der for killing a woman in an at­tack that in­flamed long-sim­mer­ing racial and po­lit­i­cal ten­sions across the coun­try.

A state jury re­jected ar­gu­ments that James Alex Fields Jr. acted in self-de­fence dur­ing a “Unite the Right” rally in Char­lottesville on Aug. 12, 2017.

Ju­rors also con­victed Fields of eight other charges, in­clud­ing ag­gra­vated ma­li­cious wound­ing and hit and run.

Fields, 21, drove to Vir­ginia from his home in Maumee, Ohio, to sup­port the white na­tion­al­ists.

As a large group of counter-pro­test­ers marched through Char­lottesville singing and laugh­ing, he stopped his car, backed up, then sped into the crowd, ac­cord­ing to tes­ti­mony from wit­nesses and video sur­veil­lance shown to ju­rors.

Pros­e­cu­tors told the jury that Fields was an­gry af­ter wit­ness­ing violent clashes be­tween the two sides ear­lier in the day.

The vi­o­lence prompted po­lice to shut down the rally be­fore it even of­fi­cially be­gan.

Heather Heyer, a 32-yearold para­le­gal and civil rights ac­tivist, was killed, and nearly three dozen oth­ers were in­jured.

The trial fea­tured emo­tional tes­ti­mony from sur­vivors who de­scribed dev­as­tat­ing in­juries and long, com­pli­cated re­cov­er­ies.

The far-right rally had been or­ga­nized in part to protest the planned re­moval of a statue of Con­fed­er­ate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Hun­dreds of Ku Klux Klan mem­bers, neo-nazis and other white na­tion­al­ists — em­bold­ened by the elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump — streamed into the col­lege town for one of the largest gath­er­ings of white su­prem­a­cists in a decade. Some dressed in bat­tle gear.

Af­ter­ward, Trump in­flamed ten­sions even fur­ther when he said “both sides” were to blame, a com­ment some saw as a re­fusal to con­demn racism.

Ac­cord­ing to one of his for­mer teach­ers, Fields was known in high school for be­ing fas­ci­nated with Nazism and idol­iz­ing Adolf Hitler.

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

When his mother pleaded with him to be care­ful, he replied: “We’re not the one (sic) who need to be care­ful.”

FIELDS Loved the Nazis

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