Man convicted of murder in Charlottesville violence
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A man who drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia was convicted Friday of first-degree murder for killing a woman.
A state jury rejected arguments that James Alex Fields Jr. acted in self-defense 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 counterprotesters marched through Charlottesville, he stopped his car, backed up, then sped into the crowd.
Prosecutors told the jury that Fields was angry after witnessing violent clashes between the two sides earlier in the day.
Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old 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 jury will reconvene Monday to determine a sentence. Jurors can recommend from 20 years to life in prison.
Fields is eligible for the death penalty if convicted of separate federal hate crime charges. No trial has been scheduled.
James Alex Fields Jr.