Neo-Nazi guilty of murder over Charlottesville rampage

Sergio Conner
December 8, 2018

A white nationalist who drove his vehicle into a crowd protesting against a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, killing one of the demonstrators, has been found guilty of first-degree murder and nine other counts.

Fields has separately been indicted on federal hate crime charges, which allow for the death penalty.

James Alex Fields Jr., (2nd L with shield) is seen attending the "Unite the Right" rally in Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017.

Fields was also found guilty of eight counts of malicious wounding of various degrees, and a count of failing to stop at the scene of an accident.

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.

Over the course of the trial prosecutor Nina-Alice Antony depicted Fields as an angry white nationalist who acted with hate and violence on August 12, 2017 when he sped into unsuspecting counterdemonstrators after the Unite the Right rally was shut down by authorities.

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The white supremacist group was protesting the proposed removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general.

His testimony was largely consistent with other defense witnesses, who told the court that Fields didn't appear angry or agitated before he got behind the wheel of his auto. 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 trial featured emotional testimony from survivors who described devastating injuries and long, complicated recoveries. In a text message exchange with his mother before the rally, Mr. Fields was told to "be careful".

During one of two recorded phone calls Fields made to his mother from jail in the months after he was arrested, he told her he had been mobbed "by a violent group of terrorists" at the rally.

One of Fields' former teachers said the 21-year-old showed a strong interest in Nazi ideology and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in high school. "She's the enemy", Fields apparently said of Heyer's mother. During the trial, prosecutors introduced into evidence Instagram posts by Fields of memes showing a auto driving into a group of people described as protesters. He posted the meme publicly to his Instagram page and sent a similar image as a private message to a friend in May 2017.

John Hill, Fields' attorney, attempted to argue that he became scared by the violence at the rally, panicked, and drove into the group.

Fields, who drove from OH to Virginia to support white nationalist demonstrators, faces up to life in prison at sentencing on Monday. No trial has been scheduled yet.

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