Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Man who drove into crowd in Charlottesville convicted of first-degree murder

Man who drove into crowd in Charlottesville convicted of first-degree murder

Prosecutors claimed that Fields drove his auto directly into them at the "Unite the Right" rally.

Sentencing will begin on Monday when jurors will be given the option to recommend between 20 years and life for the murder conviction.

In delivering its verdict late Friday afternoon, the jury rejected arguments by lawyers for James Alex Fields Jr. that he acted in self-defense.

In addition to first-degree murder, which carries a possible life sentence, James Alex Fields Jr, 21, was found guilty of five counts of aggravated malicious wounding, three of malicious wounding, and one hit-and-run count.

Sending love to all of my friends in Charlottesville as white supremacist Trump supporter James Alex Fields, Jr is found guilty of First Degree murder and 9 other felonies for deliberately running over Heather Heyer & others with his auto.

However, prosecutors showed an image of a vehicle driving into people that Fields posted to Instagram before the rally as well as surveillance of Fields driving slowly towards the crowd then backing up and speeding into them.

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

On Thursday, she urged the jury to find Fields guilty of "no more than" the lesser charges of manslaughter in Heyer's death and unlawful wounding for the injuries to others.

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Fields had driven overnight from his hometown Maumee, Ohio, to protest against the removal of the statue of Robert E Lee, the top general of the pro-slavery Confederacy during the American Civil War.

President Donald Trump was widely condemned after he said "both sides" were to blame for the violence.

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.

Three months before the incident, Fields also posted a meme on Instagram, showing an image of a crowd of people being hit by a vehicle.

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.

Fields was photographed hours before last year's attack carrying a shield with the emblem of a far-right hate group, and people who knew him in high school have said he expressed Nazi sympathies as a student. Jurors were shown a text message he sent to his mother days before the rally that included an image of the notorious German dictator.

After the verdict was read in court, some of those who were injured embraced Heyer's mother, Susan Bro. 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. He shared a photo of Adolf Hitler with the message: "We're not the one (sic) who need to be careful".

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