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Charlottesville: White nationalist found guilty of murder for driving vehicle into counterprotester

08 December 2018

Jeanne "Star" Peterson told the court she used to be fast on her feet until her right leg was shattered by Fields' auto, and only recently learned to walk again unassisted.

Fields, who expounded neo-nazi and white supremacist ideals prior to the attack, was recently charged with first-degree murder for killing Heyer.

Self-professed neo-Nazi James Alex Fields Jr. was convicted of first-degree murder on Friday for killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer when he intentionally drove his auto into a group of counterprotesters at last year's violent Unite the Right rally that brought scores of white supremacists to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia.

They also showed the jury two Instagram posts Fields uploaded in May previous year that depicted a auto ramming into a group of protesters, arguing that he ultimately chose to live out that fantasy when the opportunity arose three months later.

Spencer told The Associated Press that he was not "shocked" but was "appalled" by the verdict the jury delivered against James Alex Fields Jr. late Friday afternoon.

The mothers of both Fields and Ms Heyer were present in the courtroom when the verdict was returned.

Fields was convicted of all the charges against him, including eight separate counts of aggravated malicious wounding and malicious wounding, and one count of leaving the scene of a crash that caused serious injuries.

Heyer, who was 32 and a paralegal, had never protested before the demonstration against the Unite the Right rally, a friend who was at the protest told NPR.

A jury of seven women and five men reached their verdict near the end of the first day of deliberations of a trial that lasted a little under two weeks. On August 12, 2017, Fields was driving down Fourth Street when he was stopped by two other cars.

Spencer had questioned whether Fields could get a fair trial since the case was "so emotional".

He says that from his perspective "there does not seem to be any reasonable evidence put forward that he engaged in murderous intent". He said he doesn't feel any personal responsibility for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville. Heather Heyer was killed in the deadly attack, and the driver, James Alex Fields Jr., was arrested immediately.

The defendant's lawyer, John Hill, argued that Fields had acted in self-defense and that he drove the vehicle into throngs of people out of fear.

The 21-year-old Fields of Maumee, Ohio, faces up to life in prison at sentencing.

Prosecutors countered that Field was motivated by hatred and had come to the rally to harm others. He drove his Dodge Challenger through the night to attend the white nationalist rally, which was organized to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee. A sentencing hearing is expected to begin Monday.

Fields also faces 30 federal hate crimes charges.

Charlottesville: White nationalist found guilty of murder for driving vehicle into counterprotester