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Charlottesville neo-Nazi murderer sentenced to life in prison plus 419 years

James Alex Fields (21) was convicted of murdering 32-year-old paralegal Heather Heyer.

James Alex Fields who was last week convicted of murder.
James Alex Fields who was last week convicted of murder.
Image: PA Images

A US NEO-NAZI who drove his car into a group of counter-protesters last year during a white supremacist rally in Virginia, killing a woman, was sentenced to life in prison by a jury.

James Alex Fields Jr, 21, was found guilty of murder and other charges last week following a two-week jury trial in Charlottesville.

The same seven-woman, five-man jury that convicted Fields sentenced him to life in prison plus an additional 419 years.

Fields will be formally sentenced by Judge Richard Moore on 29 March. The judge can reduce the sentence imposed by the jury but is not allowed to increase it. 

Fields rammed his car into the counter-protesters on 12 August, 2017, killing 32-year-old paralegal Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of other people.

Those counter-protesters had gathered in opposition to a group of white supremacists who came to the university town to protest the removal of a Confederate statue.

President Donald Trump drew broad criticism in the aftermath of the mayhem when he spoke of “blame on both sides,” appearing to establish a moral equivalence between the white supremacists and those who opposed them.

The incident turned Charlottesville into a symbol of the growing audacity of the far right under Trump.

Fields had driven overnight from his hometown of 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.

Source: Global News/YouTube

Dressed in a white polo shirt and khaki pants, the uniform of the white supremacists, he took part in racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic chants, according to footage played in the courtroom.

The prosecution played videos that showed Fields stop his car and reverse up a hill before commencing his deadly assault on counter-protesters who were singing and celebrating after city officials had ordered the far-right demonstrators to leave.

In order to build their case of a premeditated attack, prosecutors presented a text Fields sent to his mother before departing for the rally after she had asked him to be careful

“We’re not the one (sic) who need to be careful,” he replied, alongside a photo of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, whom he has long admired.

They also showed the jury two Instagram posts Fields uploaded in May last year that depicted a car ramming into a group of protesters, arguing that he ultimately chose to live out that fantasy when the opportunity arose three months later.

© – AFP 2018

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