James Alex Fields, who in August 2017 drove a vehicle into a crowd protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was convicted Friday of first-degree murder and nine other charges.
A jury found that Fields acted with premeditation on August 12, 2017, when he backed up his auto before barreling down a narrow street crowded with counterprotesters.
James Alex Fields Jr was found guilty of five counts of aggravated malicious wounding, three of malicious wounding, and one hit-and-run count.
Earlier in the day, Fields was photographed marching with Vanguard America, a neo-Nazi group, during the rally. Throughout the day, rally participants clashed with community members, anti-racists and anti-fascists across the city.
Jury deliberations began briefly Thursday evening.
Fields injured a total of 35 counter-protesters and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer. The trial featured emotional testimony from survivors who described devastating injuries and long, complicated recoveries. "She's the enemy", Fields apparently said of Heyer's mother. She left the courthouse without commenting.
Some relatives of the victims, who had taken their seats behind the prosecution on the right hand side of the Charlottesville Circuit Court, sobbed quietly as the verdict was read out, according to activists who were present.
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The rally brought out thousands of supporters of the alt-right, a loosely-knit coalition of white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis.
"There does not seem to be any reasonable evidence put forward that he engaged in murderous intent", Spencer said. He said he doesn't feel any personal responsibility for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville. I have a right to speak.
James Alex Fields his auto into a crowd of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville past year tied to the defense of Confederate monuments. Some dressed in battle gear.
US President Donald Trump was strongly condemned by fellow Republicans as well as Democrats for saying afterward that "both sides" were to blame for the violence.
Fields referred to Heyer's mother in a recorded jailhouse phone call as a "communist" and "one of those anti-white supremacists". Prosecutor Nina-Alice Antony said Fields was angry over the fighting going on and posted on Instagram before the rally. He posted the meme publicly to his Instagram page and sent a similar image as a private message to a friend in May 2017.
During the trial, Fields' attorney, John Hill, tried to argue that Fields panicked and was scared when he drove his auto into the crowd and was remorseful.
Fields' defense asked the court to find him guilty of lesser charges of unlawful wounding and involuntary manslaughter, arguing that he was immature at the time of the attack and that he drove into protesters out of fear. The jury is set to return on Monday to determine his sentence.
The 21-year-old Fields of Maumee, Ohio, faces up to life in prison at sentencing.