An avowed white supremacist who ran his vehicle into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one and injuring many others, was sentenced to life in prison on federal hate crime charges.
James Alex Fields Jr. pleaded guilty to the charges in March of this year, admitting to purposefully using his vehicle as a weapon. He faces separate charges in Virginia court, where he’s set to be sentenced next month, The Guardian reported.
Fields, who is from Maumee, Ohio, attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017, when he committed his crime. The incident drew national attention, as his and other acts of hate were documented on national television, including another incident where a black man was beaten by several white supremacists in a parking garage.
Twenty individuals read victim statements regarding Fields’ actions and how they affected them. The last among them was Susan Bro, the mother 32-year-old Heather Heyer, the victim Fields actually killed when he ran his vehicle into her that day.
James Fields has been sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville at the Unite the Right rally in August 2017. We spoke to her mother 1 year after her death. pic.twitter.com/kTisJTNLmC
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 28, 2019
“I’d like to see him find meds to help his mind to heal. I don’t know if Mr. Fields can ever be trusted in society. I hope he can heal someday and help others heal too,” Bro said, per reporting from CNN.
After the judge read his sentence, Fields apologized for his actions.
Right-wing activists, including neo-Nazis, white supremacists and white nationalists, and other far-right-wing actors descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia, in August of 2017, officially to protest the removal of a statute of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. But as they started to demonstrate, it was clear that their motives were beyond the statue’s importance.
Some of the protesters, for instance, wielded burning torches during the evening portion of their demonstrations, with many chanting “you will not replace us,” the BBC reported.
According to Forward.com, the phrase is a noted anti-Semitic trope, predominantly used by the alt-right