Man con­victed of mur­der in Char­lottesville vi­o­lence

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - NATION - By Denise Lavoie The As­so­ci­ated Press

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.

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