James Alex Fields Jr found guilty of murdering Heather Heyer at Charlottesville white nationalist rally

Heather Heyer was killed at a 'Unite the Right' rally last year

Chris Stevenson
New York
,Lucy Anna Gray
Friday 07 December 2018 23:37
Comments
Charlottesville mayor: There's a 'direct line' between what happened here and Trump

A man who drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, has been convicted of first-degree murder.

James Alex Fields Jr was found guilty on Friday of killing Heather Heyer, 32, at a ‘Unite the Right’ rally last year. At least 19 other people were injured.

Prosecutors said Fields drove his car directly into the crowd of counter-protesters because he was angry after witnessing earlier violent clashes between the two sides.

Jurors also convicted Fields of eight other charges including aggravated malicious wounding and hit-and-run.

The jury rejected arguments made by lawyers for Fields that he acted in self-defence.

The rally was held to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee.

Fields, 21, of Maumee, Ohio, faces up to life in prison at sentencing. He stared straight ahead as the verdict was read out following seven hours of jury deliberation, NBC News reported.

President Donald Trump was strongly condemned by fellow Republicans as well as Democrats for saying afterward that “both sides” were to blame for the violence.

Fields was photographed hours before the car attack carrying a shield with the emblem of a far-right hate group. He has identified himself as a neo-Nazi.

Fields also faces separate federal hate-crime charges, which carry a potential death sentence. He has pleaded not guilty in that case as well.

Outside the court about a dozen anti-racist activists chanted in unison after the verdict that white nationalists “will not replace us.”

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

It was a revised version of slurs shouted by white-supremacist-rally participants in 2017 who yelled “Jews will not replace us.”

Charlottesville civil rights activist Tanesha Hudson said she attended the rally and saw the violence that day. She said she sees the guilty verdict as the city’s way of saying, “We will not tolerate this in our city.”

She says Charlottesville residents “don’t stand for this type of hate”.

Additional reporting by agencies

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in