Man Who Murdered Heather Heyer at Unite the Right Rally Sentenced to Life in Prison

James Alex Fields, the 21-year-old avowed Neo-Nazi who murdered a woman after plowing his car into a crowd of protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year, will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.

A jury in Charlottesville recommended Tuesday that Fields should be sentenced to life plus 419 years in prison and nearly half a million dollars in fines for killing 31-year-old Heather Heyer and seriously injuring 35 others.

A formal court date was scheduled for March 29, when Judge Richard Moore is expected to sign off on the sentence.

james-alex-fields_getty-Handout : Handout
(Photo: Handout / Handout, Getty)

The life sentence was a result of Fields' first-degree murder conviction last week. The 419 additional years were a result of the jury recommending 70 years for each of five malicious wounding charges, 20 for each of three malicious wounding charges and nine years on one charge of leaving the scene of an accident, according to The Associated Press.

A day ahead of the jury's recommendation, jurors heard emotional testimony from Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, as well as several victims struck by Fields during the August 2017 Unite the Right rally.

"Heather was full of love, justice and fairness. Mr. Fields tried to silence her," Bro said, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "I refuse to let him."

Bro told reporters after burying her daughter that she'd had to hide her grave to prevent it being defaced by Nazis. "I don't want other mothers to be in my spot," Bro said through tears on the one-year anniversary of Heyer's death. "I don't want other mothers to go through this."

During the two-week trial, prosecutors showed evidence that Fields, who was photographed hours before Heyer's death with a sheild bearing the emblem of Vanguard America, referred to Heyer as "that one girl who died, or whatever" and that her death "doesn't f—ing matter," according to BuzzFeed News.

While he was in prison last December, he called Heyer's mother "one of those anti-white communists" and said, "It doesn't matter. It's not up for questioning. She's the enemy." Days before the Charlottesville rally, prosecutors said he sent a photo of Adolf Hitler to his mother, who told him to be careful. "We're not the one [sic] who need to be careful," he responded.

Fields' defense lawyers reportedly tried to paint the extremist as remorseful, showing a video of the moment of his 2017 arrest, in which he says, "I didn't want to hurt people. I thought they were attacking me."


His attorneys also asked the jury to consider their client's mental state on the day of the attack. A psychologist "testified that Fields was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizoid personality disorder at the ages of 6 and 14, respectively," according to the Times-Dispatch.

Fields also faces 30 charges in a separate federal case concerning the same attack.