Home / US / James Fields sentenced to life imprisonment for the death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville

James Fields sentenced to life imprisonment for the death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville

James Fields Jr., the white Supremacist who murdered a woman two summers ago when he drove a Dodge Challenger into a crowd of peaceful protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Friday in federal jail.

Lawyers for 22-year-old Mr. Fields had asked for mercy, citing his difficult childhood and mental health problems. The prosecutor's office had applied for life imprisonment, arguing that Mr. Fields' racist, anti-Semitic beliefs had led to the decision to attend the White Supremacist rally in Charlottesville and attack counter-protesters, kill Heather Heyer, and hurt dozens of others.

"The defendant's crimes were so terrible – and the maiming of innocent so bad – that they outweighed all the factors that the accused might claim to be the basis for indulgence," Federal prosecutors said in a court ruling. "This is especially true given the fact that he has proven that he feels no remorse for his actions and continues to support his hateful ideology."

Photo credits Facebook, via Reuters

Mr. Fields was among the hundreds of white Supremacists who visited Charlottesville in August 2017 for the "Unite the Right" rally, calling anti-Semitic phrases, marching with tiki torches, and attacking a racially heterogeneous group of anti-protesters. The rally seemed to be unfolding as Mr. Fields drove his car into a crowd of these anti-protesters.

Image   Mr. Fields after his arrest [19659016] Mr. Fields after his arrest. </span><span itemprop= Credit Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, via Associated Press

Mr. Fields pleaded guilty to 29 charges at the start of this year, including a hate crime for the death of Ms. Heyer. The federal prosecutor's office dropped another charge that could have led to the death penalty.

When Mr. Fields pleaded guilty, Attorney General William P. Barr declared a priority for his office in a statement that hate crimes were "domestic terrorism records," and that it was criminal prosecution.

Mr. Fields lawyers asked the judge for a punishment that would eventually release him from prison. Mr. Fields had tried to leave the rally to return to Ohio, his lawyers said, but found that the street was blocked by counter-protesters and made the decision to cross them in fractions of a second.

it applies to the undeserved, "his lawyers wrote in a sentence citing Mr. Fields' mental illness and relative youth as grounds for less than a life sentence.

Mr. Fields was convicted of first-degree murder in a state court in December, and the jury recommended a life sentence. A judge will decide in the coming weeks if he accepts this recommendation.

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