Man found guilty of killing pro­tester in Char­lottes­ville

The Bradenton Herald - - News - BY JOE HEIM AND KRIS­TINE PHILLIPS

An avowed sup­porter of neo-Nazi be­liefs who took part in the vi­o­lent and chaotic white su­prem­a­cist “Unite the Right” rally in this city last year was found guilty Fri­day of first-de­gree mur­der for killing a woman by ram­ming his car through a crowd of coun­ter­protesters.

A jury of seven women and five men be­gan de­lib­er­at­ing Fri­day morn­ing and took just over seven hours to reach its de­ci­sion that James 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 coun­ter­protesters, slam­ming into them and an­other car. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed and 35 oth­ers in­jured, many griev­ously.

The deadly at­tack in the early af­ter­noon of Aug. 12, 2017 cul­mi­nated a dark 24 hours in this quiet col­lege town. It was marked by a men­ac­ing torch­light march through the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia cam­pus the night be­fore, with par­tic­i­pants shout­ing racist and anti-Semitic in­sults, and wild street bat­tles on the morn­ing of the planned rally be­tween white su­prem­a­cists and those op­pos­ing their ide­ol­ogy.

As the sounds and im­ages of bru­tal beat­ings, blood­ied faces and hate­filled chants spread across the coun­try and around the world, this city quickly be­came iden­ti­fied with the emer­gence of a new or­der of white supremacy that no longer felt com­pelled to hide in the shad­ows or the safety of on­line anonymity.

Many in their em­bold­ened ranks shouted fas­cist slo­gans, dis­played Nazi swastikas and Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flags and ex­tended their arms in Sieg Heil salutes.

James Fields Jr.

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