Charlottesville: White nationalist found guilty of murder for driving auto into counterprotester

Lester Mason
December 8, 2018

The Virginia jury rejected arguments from Fields' lawyer that he acted in self defense.

He was found guilty on all of the charges he was facing, ABC affiliate WSET reports, which included first-degree murder as well as eight other charges relating to injuries and one relating to fleeing the scene of an accident.

Defence attorneys never disputed that Fields was behind the wheel of the Dodge Charger that sent bodies flying when it crashed into a crowd on 12 August a year ago, killing counter-protester Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring 19 others.

James Alex Fields found guilty of murder after plowing his auto into a crowd and killing Heather Heyer.

The nine-day trial featured days of emotional testimony from victims who were seriously injured in the crash, including a man who pushed his girlfriend out of the way, bearing the brunt of the impact himself, and a single mother who suffered two broken legs and a broken back.

After the verdict was read in court, some of those who were injured embraced Heyer's mother, Susan Bro. She left the courthouse without commenting.

A group of about a dozen local civil rights activists stood in front of the courthouse after the verdict with their right arms raised in the air.

"You can't do that based on the fact that he holds extreme right-wing views", she said.

"There does not seem to be any reasonable evidence put forward that he engaged in murderous intent", Spencer said. He said he doesn't feel any personal responsibility for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville.

On Aug. 12, 2017, a rally organized by alt-right groups to protest the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue turned violent.

Susan Bro left mother of Heather Heyer is hugged by a supporter on the steps of the courthouse after a guilty verdict was reached in the trial of James Alex Fields Jr. Friday Dec. 7 2018 at Charlottesville General district court in Charlottesville
James Alex Fields Found Guilty of First-Degree Murder in Violent Charlottesville Rally That Killed 1, Injured Others

During the trial, prosecutors introduced evidence that Mr. Fields meant to commit harm when he drove from OH to attend the rally, which featured neo-Nazis bearing swastikas and Ku Klux Klan members. Some dressed in battle gear.

In response to the violence, President Trump said there was "blame on both sides".

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

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.

Among other evidence in the case, jurors saw Fields, of Maumee, Ohio, marching and chanting with white nationalists, a meme Fields had posted months earlier of a vehicle plowing into a crowd, and a text message he sent his mother the day before the auto attack that included a photo of Adolf Hitler. He posted the meme publicly to his Instagram page and sent a similar image as a private message to a friend in May 2017.

As he looked down the crowded street Fields saw a chance, Antony told the jury, to "make his Instagram post a reality".

Wednesday Bowie, who was struck by Fields' auto and suffered a broken pelvis and other injuries, said she felt gratified by the guilty verdict. "This is the best I have been in a year and a half".

The court is scheduled to sentence Fields on Monday.

A white nationalist who killed a counterprotester in Virginia past year was convicted on Friday of first-degree murder and eight other charges.

Fields also faces separate federal hate-crime charges, which carry a potential death sentence.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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