White nationalist guilty of murder at Charlottesville march

Nellie Chapman
December 8, 2018

His lawyer said in court that Fields was "scared to death" after the Unite the Right rally turned violent and clashes had broken out between protesters and counter-protesters, and they built their case around the claim that he was acting in self defense.

Prosecutors said Fields, who espoused white supremacist beliefs and took part in the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, had hate and violence on his mind when he plowed his vehicle into the crowd.

The jury is scheduled to convene Monday to determine Fields's sentence which carries a recommended sentence of 20 years to life.

Lunsford said Fields only drove into the crowd out of fear after finding himself alone and unprotected.

James Alex Fields Jr was found guilty of five counts of aggravated malicious wounding, three of malicious wounding, and one hit-and-run count.

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

Violence broke out as counter protesters clashed with white nationalists, prompting Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency.

Prosecutor Nina-Alice Antony described Fields as a hate-filled man who idled his auto for three minutes before backing up and speeding his vehicle into the crowd, Fox News reported.

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

Some relatives of the victims, who had taken their seats behind the prosecution on the right hand side of the Charlottesville Circuit Court throughout the trial, sobbed quietly as the verdict was read out.

Separately, Fields also faces dozens of federal charges, including hate crimes, which could result in the death penalty.

Fields had driven overnight from his hometown Maumee, Ohio, to support the "Unite the Right" rally to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E Lee, the top general of the pro-slavery Confederacy during the 1861-1865 American Civil War. 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.

The defendant was known in high school for being fascinated with Nazism and Hitler, a former teacher said.

Earlier in the week they presented jurors a SMS message Fields sent to his mother before departing for the rally after she had asked him to be careful.

Fields referred to Heyer's mother in a recorded jailhouse phone call as a "communist" and "one of those anti-white supremacists".

Antony reminded the jury of a meme Fields posted three months earlier on Instagram. Jurors were shown a text message he sent to his mother days before the rally that included an image of the notorious German dictator.

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