Neo-Nazi convicted of murder over Charlottesville rampage, faces life term

James Alex Fields Jr

Her death came after police forced a white nationalist rally to disband after participants clashed with counter-protesters.

John Hill, Fields' attorney, attempted to argue that he became scared by the violence at the rally, panicked, and drove into the group.

Fields, 21, was found guilty in the killing of Heather Heyer and faces a possible sentence of life in prison.

The Virginia jury rejected arguments from Fields' lawyer that he acted in self defense.

He was found guilty on all of the charges he was facing, ABC affiliate WSET reports, which included first-degree murder as well as eight other charges relating to injuries and one relating to fleeing the scene of an accident.

Fields was convicted in the August 2017 crash that killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Prosecutors told the court that Fields attacked the protesters after he witnessed earlier clashes between them and other white nationalists earlier in the day.

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As a large group of counterprotesters marched through Charlottesville singing and laughing, he stopped his auto, backed up, then sped into the crowd, according to testimony from witnesses and video surveillance shown to jurors. She testified she and Calhoun were approached by Fields and another man, who suggested they travel together as there is safety in numbers. He is also charged with 30 federal hate crimes and could face the death penalty. And many also wore red Make America Great Again hats, saying they were encouraged in the public display of their beliefs by U.S. President Donald Trump, who later that week would say that there were "very fine people" on both sides of the demonstration.

Present in the courtroom for the verdict, was Fields' mother and Susan Bro, Heyer's mother.

Fields had driven overnight from his hometown Maumee, Ohio, to support the "Unite the Right" rally to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E Lee, the top general of the pro-slavery Confederacy during the 1861-1865 American Civil War.

Hundreds of Ku Klux Klan members, neo-Nazis and other white nationalists had streamed into the college town of Charlottesville for one of the largest gatherings of white supremacists in a decade.

Prosecutors portrayed Fields as an angry white supremacist motivated by hate as he plowed into the crowd, showing a text message he sent containing an image of Adolf Hitler and a meme posted on Instagram showing bodies tossed into the air after a vehicle plows into a crowd identified as "protesters". In a text message exchange with his mother before the rally, Mr. Fields was told to "be careful".

Earlier in the trial, a recording of a jailhouse phone call that Fields had with his mother in March was played in court. 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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