Charlottesville: James Alex Fields guilty of first-degree murder

Neo-nazi guilty of murder over Charlottesville riots

Neo-nazi guilty of murder over Charlottesville riots

The jury deliberated for about seven hours before convicting James Fields, 21, of all charges stemming from the deadly attack that occurred after police had declared an unlawful assembly and cleared a city park of white supremacists gathered for the Unite the Right rally.

During the trial, Fields' attorney, John Hill, tried to argue that Fields panicked and was scared when he drove his auto into the crowd and was remorseful.

Sentencing will begin from Monday, with jurors given the option to recommend between 20 years and life for the murder conviction.

Instead, Fields' lawyers suggested during the two-week trial that he felt intimidated by a hostile crowd and acted to protect himself.

A jury needed a little more than seven hours to convict Fields, of Maumee, Ohio, in the killing of Heyer during a "Unite the Right" rally in Virginia on August 12, 2017.

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 vehicle.

Videos from several angles and photos from the Charlottesville attack show Fields flying down Fourth Street in his auto, plowing into protesters, then backing up and hitting more.

Remember that Unite the Right rally that went down in Charlottesville previous year?

Fields is eligible for the death penalty if convicted of separate federal hate crime charges.

A jury found Fields, of OH, deliberately rammed his vehicle into a crowd after the "Unite the Right" rally on August 12, 2017.

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.

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.

Afterward, Trump inflamed tensions even further when he said "both sides" were to blame, a comment some saw as a refusal to condemn racism. During the trial, prosecutors introduced into evidence Instagram posts by Fields of memes showing a vehicle driving into a group of people described as protesters.

"We're not the one who need to be careful" he replied, alongside a photo of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, whom he has long admired. A video of Fields being interrogated after the crash showed him sobbing and hyperventilating after he was told a woman had died and others were seriously injured.

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. In another, Fields referred to the mother of the woman who was killed as a "communist" and "one of those anti-white supremacists".

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