In 2017, James Alex Fields Jr. drove to Virginia from his home in Maumee, Ohio, to support the white nationalists. On August 12, he’d launch his 2010 Dodge Challenger through a group of singing counterprotesters. He’d stop, back up, and then speed into the crowd, confirmed by witness testimony and video surveillance. Fields would kill one woman and injure nearly three dozen more.

On Friday, a jury would reject his claims of “acting in self-defense” and convict Fields of first-degree murder. Jurors also convicted Fields of eight other charges, including aggravated malicious wounding and hit and run.

Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal and civil rights activist, died after being run over by Fields. A memorial for her could be seen just blocks away from a Charlottesville Circuit Court that was used for the trial.


In high school, Fields was said to have idolized Adolf Hitler and was fascinated by the Nazis. Part of the evidence shown to jurors during the trial was a message he sent to his mother that included a picture of the dictator. When his mother pleaded with him to be careful, he replied: “we’re not the one who need to be careful.”

Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, and eight victims are expected to testify before Fields’ sentencing on Monday. During a recorded call from jail, Fields referred to Bro as a “communist” and “one of those anti-white supremacists.”

Jurors can recommend from 20 years to life in prison as a sentence for Fields. If convicted of separate federal hate crime charges, Fields is eligible for the death penalty. No trial has been scheduled yet.

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