White supremacist gets 2nd life term plus 419 years for Charlottesville ramming
search

White supremacist gets 2nd life term plus 419 years for Charlottesville ramming

Largely symbolic additional sentence handed out to James Alex Fields Jr., who killed anti-racism protester and injured others during 2017 rally and counter-protest

James Alex Fields Jr., is led out of General District Court courthouse after his sentencing on state charges, July 15, 2019, in Charlottesville, Virginia. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
James Alex Fields Jr., is led out of General District Court courthouse after his sentencing on state charges, July 15, 2019, in Charlottesville, Virginia. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

CHARLOTTESVILLE (AP) — An avowed US white supremacist was sentenced to life plus 419 years on state charges Monday for deliberately driving his car into anti-racism protesters during a white nationalist rally in Virginia.

James Alex Fields Jr., 22, received the sentence for killing one person and injuring dozens during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017.

Last month, Fields received a life sentence on 29 federal hate crime charges.

Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Richard Moore followed a state jury’s recommendation in handing down the sentence. Under state law, he was allowed to go lower than the recommendation, but not higher.

“Mr. Fields, you had choices. We all have choices,” Moore said. “You made the wrong ones and you caused great harm. … You caused harm around the globe when people saw what you did.”

The state sentence is mainly symbolic given that Fields was already sentenced to life on the federal charges.

In this August 12, 2017, photo people fly into the air as a car drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Ryan Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)

“For his purposes, he has one life to give, so this is a largely academic exercise,” noted Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University.

Fields, an avowed white supremacist and neo-Nazi who kept a photo of Adolf Hitler on his bedside table, drove from his home in Maumee, Ohio, to attend the rally, which drew hundreds of white nationalists to Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The event also drew counterprotesters who demonstrated against the white nationalists.

Violent skirmishes between the two sides prompted police to declare an unlawful assembly and to order the groups to disband before the rally could even begin. Later that day, Fields plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring more than two dozen others.

The event stirred racial tensions around the US. President Donald Trump sparked controversy when he blamed the violence at the rally on “both sides,” a statement that critics saw as a refusal to condemn racism on the right.

During Fields’ state trial, his attorneys focused on his history of mental illness and traumatic childhood.

read more:
less
comments
more