James Alex Fields Found Guilty of First-Degree Murder in Violent Charlottesville Rally That Killed 1, Injured Others

James Alex Fields Jr. was found guilty of killing Heather Heyer during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year.

Fields, 21, was convicted on every count he faced, including first-degree murder, reports NBC News. He was also convicted of five founds of aggravated malicious wounding, one hit and run count and three counts of malicious wounding for injuring others when he plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.

Fields still faces a trial on 30 federal hate crime charges.

On Aug. 12, 2017, a rally organized by alt-right groups to protest the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue turned violent. Fields drove his 2010 Dodge Charger into the crowd of counter-protesters, killing 31-year-old Heyer and wounding 19 others. During the trial, Fields' attorney, John Hill, tried to argue that Fields panicked and was scared when he drove his car into the crowd and was remorseful.

However, prosecutors said Fields deliberately chose to drive his car into the crowd. Prosecutor Nina-Alice Antony said Fields was angry over the fighting going on and posted on Instagram before the rally. One image he shared showed a group of people getting struck by a car.

"This case is about his decision to act on that anger," Antony said.

"His Instagram posts tell you exactly what he thinks of the type of people who take to the streets to protest," Antony argued, notes CNN. "And when he passes that happy crowd in front of him on Fourth Street, those images pop into his head and he seizes on the opportunity to make his Instagram posts a reality."

The jury also saw a surveillance video showing Fields first driving his car slowly, then reversing his car to slam into the crowd. They also heard taped jailhouse phone calls, in which Fields called Heyer's mother, Susan Bro a "communist" and "anti-white supremacist" in a discussion with his mother.

According to NBC29, the jury also saw a text message Fields sent his mother that included a picture of Adolph Hitler before the Unite The Right rally. "We're not the one (sic) who need to be careful," Fields wrote.

Fields was seen in Charlottesville carrying a shield with the logo of Vanguard America, which is considered a hate group. The group later denied Fields was a member.


The jury will reconvene on Monday to determine the details of Fields' sentence, reports WHSV. They can recommend 20 years to life for the murder charge, plus more time for the other charges. He could also face the death penalty if convicted on the federal hate crime charges, but his trial in that case has not been scheduled.

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